April 25, 2023
CAIR-LA Leads Coalition to Establish Orange County Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

(LOS ANGELES, CA – 4/25/2023) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), along with 22 other immigrant and refugee-serving organizations, today welcomed the unanimous vote to establish an Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (OIRA) by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.  

SEE: Letter to BOS Regarding Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs  

The motion was authored by Fourth District Supervisor Doug Chaffee and Vice Chairman Andrew Do, who both spoke of the importance of community involvement and the role OIRA can play in both supporting immigrant and refugee communities and strengthening the entire county.  

In Orange County, 53% of children have one immigrant parent. AAPI and Latino immigrants account for 45.2% and 44.8% of Orange County’s foreign-born population, respectively. Furthermore, 40% of businesses in Orange County are owned by immigrants and more than 30% of the county’s population is immigrant1.   

The motion addresses the withdrawal of the United States military from Afghanistan andthe need to support Afghan arrivals within Orange County while drawing parallels to the rise of Vietnamese refugees over 45 years ago. OIRA is an opportunity to better help these and other immigrant and refugee communities within the county obtain needed legal and county services while coordinating with local nonprofits.  

In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:  

“For over 27 years, CAIR-LA has worked with partners within the Latino, Asian American Pacific Islander, Black, Middle Eastern, African, and South Asian communities to empower immigrants and refugees in Orange County to be thriving, civically engaged individuals. By working collaboratively with the Muslim community and its partners who have decades of experience serving those most in need and helping them facilitate the growth and success of their families, the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs will only increase the benefits every person within Orange County will experience.”  

In a statement, CAIR-LA Deputy Executive Director Masih Fouladi said:  

“The unanimous decision to establish an Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs within Orange County is historic and exemplifies the success and power of immigrants and refugees in the county. The establishment of this office is possible because immigrant communities within the county have contributed to the economic, philanthropic, and intellectual growth of the region, including hundreds of nonprofit institutions that provide vital services to those in need.   

“We thank Supervisor Chaffee for his leadership in introducing this measure and look forward to working with the County’s Chief Executive Office to ensure that the implementation of this office maximizes the social and economic benefit to the county and includes robust partnership and coordination with local nonprofits and philanthropy as well as federal and state funding to ensure the sustainability of this initiative.”  

The motion included several recommendations from CAIR-LA and other local advocacy groups, including the commitment to hire a director-level employee within the county to lead OIRA. Supervisor Chafee’s office also committed $500,000 from his district’s discretionary American Rescue Plan Act funding to fund some of the office’s future work.   

CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.        

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Digital Communications Manager Enjy El-Kadi, (714) 851-4851 or eelkadi@cair.com      


1 Orange County Immigration Profile