July 14, 2022
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Immigration - Denver’s Municipal Response to Federal Immigration Pressures and Changes: 2017 to Today
Description: The City and County of Denver has long been involved in immigrant and refugee integration from the community engagement level to policy development. In 2017, feeling tremendous pressure and responsibility to respond to the many significant changes to federal immigration policy and practice, Denver developed several transformational changes in legislation and support systems to reinforce our commitment to immigrant and refugee communities. This presentation will cover the changes and what has transpired since their development to ensure sustainability and relevance in an ever-changing national immigration landscape.
Speakers: Jamie Torres and Atim Otii
Councilwoman Jamie Torres took office as the Denver City Council Member representing District 3, Denver’s westside, on July 15, 2019. She was elected to the leadership role of Pro Tem of the Denver City Council in 2019 and is a member of the Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee as well as the Safety, Education, Housing & Homelessness Committee where she is also Vice-Chair.
Jamie’s roots are directly in the west Denver community where she and her husband currently call home. She is a third generation Denverite, her grandmother was born in a small house in the Curtis Park neighborhood and grew up in the old Auraria Neighborhood and her grandfather grew up in Sun Valley. Her family moved to Villa Park in the 1960s where Jamie has now lived for over 30 years. It is her home and the community is her inspiration.
Jamie is a community advocate and community connector to her core. Prior to being elected, Jamie spent 18 years in the Human Rights & Community Partnerships Agency (HRCP) in the City and County of Denver where she helped ensure Denver is focused on the civil rights, human rights, and social justice needs of its residents. Jamie was both Deputy Director of the Agency and Director of the Denver Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs, an office she started in 2005 because she saw a need for greater immigrant inclusion. Over the years in working for local government, Jamie worked directly on issues of poverty, equity, food insecurity, community and civic engagement, immigrant integration, and approaching innovative ways of direct leadership development in underrepresented communities.
Atim Otii is the Director for the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. Ms. Otii leads DOIRA’s work centered around integrating immigrant and refugee communities through inclusive policy, programming, and partnerships. She is a leader in immigration integration and has helped thousands of immigrants throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Prior to joining the city, Otii served as the Immigration Legal Services Director for Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains for six years, where she led several immigrant focused programs from direct legal representation to social service support in Colorado and New Mexico. Previously, Otii was in private practice, where she successfully represented immigrants and refugees in family-based immigration, asylum and naturalization law, and removal defense. Otii has served with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Colorado Lawyers Committee Immigration Task Force, offered trainings on immigrant rights and integration, and provided technical assistance and advocacy locally, nationally and internationally.