County Appoints Immigration Lawyer As First Director of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

Lucero Chavez Basilio
Lucero Chávez Basilio. Courtesy County News Center

San Diego County will host Lucero Chavez Basilio as the first director of the Bureau of Immigration and Refugee Affairs on Friday after a nationwide recruitment for the post, it was announced Thursday.

“It is an honor and a privilege to work with the people of San Diego and our partners across the county to build the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs,” said Chavez Basilio, a bilingual Spanish lawyer and speaker, who has spent more than 10 years representing children and families of immigrants and refugees in immigration proceedings and in humanitarian and family petitions.

“I look forward to creating and promoting programs and initiatives that meet the needs of the community,” she said.

Basilio has worked with city councils, community organizations, and law enforcement agencies throughout Southern California to create and implement pro-immigrant policies and programs.

“After years of community advocacy, I was proud to present a proposal with Vice President [Nora] Vargas last year to create the Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs,” said Nathan Fletcher, chairman of the county board of supervisors. “I am truly thrilled to welcome Ms. Chavez Basilio to lead the office, I am confident that with her experience, passion and leadership, we will continue to make San Diego County more welcoming to all residents.”

The office is located in the department Health and Social Services Agency‘s Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities — headed by Barbara Jimenez.

“For the county and our communities, this is very exciting news,” Jimenez said. “We all look forward to Ms. Chavez Basilio joining the team and engaging the community, both in building and leading this new office.”

Chavez Basilio grew up in a working-class immigrant neighborhood in Southeast Los Angeles and is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. She holds a BA in American Literature and Culture and Chicana/O Studies from UCLA and a JD from UC Berkeley School of Law. She has also taught administrative law at the Western State College of Law and immigration law and policy at the UC Irvine School of Law.

“This is an important day for San Diego County, a day that recognizes the rich and continued contributions, as well as the needs, of immigrants and refugees in our region,” said Nick Macchione, HHSA Director.

“Lucero Chavez Basilio brings a wealth of experience working with immigrant and refugee families and has the vision to lead the new office,” said Vargas, vice chairman of the county board of supervisors. “I am thrilled that she is leading the agency in working in partnership with the community and elevating the positive contributions that immigrants and refugees make to our culture and economy in the binational region. »

Jon J. Epps