Healey taps Ronnie Millar for key post in Refugees and Immigrants office

Formerly the head of the Rian Immigration Ctr, Ronny Millar is pictured with the agency's founder, Sr Lena Deavy, durng her April '23 visit to Boston. Millar has been named Director of Strategic Initiatives for the state's Office of Refugees & Immigarnts (ORI).(Ed Forry photo)

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh recently announced three key leadership appointments for the Office for Refugees and Immigrants (ORI). Ronnie Millar, former executive director of the Rian Immigrant Center, joined ORI on May 22 as Director of Strategic Initiatives. Cristina Aguilera Sandoval, who is currently executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant Collaborative, will become executive director of ORI, effective June 16, becoming the chief advocate for immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts. Susan Church, an immigration attorney who has spent more than 25 years advocating for immigrant rights, joined ORI as chief operating officer on, May 23.

“Massachusetts’s immigrant and refugee communities make our state stronger. Cristina, Ronnie, and Susan are uniquely qualified to lead an office that celebrates the contributions of immigrants and refugees and connects them with the resources and services they need to thrive here,” said Healey.

“Their leadership is particularly important in this moment as we prepare for the implementation of the Work and Family Mobility Act and continue the challenging work of connecting families with safe and secure housing amidst our housing crisis.” 

Said Driscoll: “ORI plays an increasingly important role in serving the refugee and immigrant communities in Massachusetts, as well as those who are arriving here to build their futures.

“Together with our partners across state government and community-based organizations, this team will help ensure that all immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts have access to safe shelter, food, health care, education, cultural and linguistic needs, and more.”

“Cristina will serve as the chief advocate for refugees and immigrants in Massachusetts and ensure that new arrivals to our state are met not only with the right supports and services, but with dignity and compassion,”said Secretary Walsh.

“Ronnie’s expertise will help us bring together key supports like legal assistance, housing, employment, and health care so that new arrivals are set up for long-term success in Massachusetts. Susan will apply her relentless work toward immigrant rights to drive policy and program initiatives to achieve ORI’s mission: full participation of refugees and immigrants as self-sufficient individuals and families in the economic, social, and civic life of Massachusetts.”

Said Millar: “I am very honored to serve the Commonwealth and our immigrant and refugee communities. We are obligated from both a legal and humanitarian perspective to welcome newcomers and to assist them on their path to safety and well-being. It’s going to take a collective effort and good will from all of us to mitigate the difficulties we are facing at this time.  I look forward to working together across the state on these challenges and opportunities.”