Lavinia Limon, President & CEO of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), announced today her plan to retire in September 2018, after 43 years of assisting refugees around the globe and 17 years of service to the organization. Under Lavinia’s leadership, USCRI has dramatically increased its footprint by establishing multiple additional field offices, including one in El Salvador, increased staff from 40 to 250 employees, and earned a reputation for quality services for refugees and immigrants. Additionally, under her leadership, the agency created and promoted the “anti-warehousing campaign” aimed at ending the world-wide practice of denying refugees the right to movement, work, and basic services such as education. During her career Lavinia has worked for Church World Service, The International Rescue Committee (twice), USCRI (twice), and served as the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Office of Family Assistance within the Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration. She began working at Camp Pendleton, CA, helping Vietnamese refugees on April 30, 1975 and subsequently served refugees in San Francisco, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Los Angeles, Saudi Arabia, New York, and Washington DC. Lavinia has been a leading voice among refugee advocates and has helped save and restore countless lives.
“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve refugees and immigrants as they endeavor to survive deprivation and persecution and create new lives with freedom, possibility, and dignity. I am in awe of the journey so many people take for safety and the challenges they overcome to reach their dreams. I have had the privilege of watching the human spirit prevail over evil and war. For over 100 years, USCRI has spoken for the newcomers among us and championed their ability and desire to contribute to building our nation. When I pass the torch to a new leader with fresh ideas and vision, I will be excited to see what pioneering possibilities and opportunities are in the future for this great organization.”
Gene DeFelice, Esq., Chairman of the Board of Directors of USCRI stated, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, it has been and continues to be an honor to work with someone as accomplished and passionate as Lavinia as she has fought for the rights and welfare of the uprooted. Lavinia will be leaving a legacy of achievement and a strong team to support USCRI’s noble mission when she retires”.
The Governance Committee of the Board of Directors will lead a national search for Lavinia’s successor including internal and external candidates.