Announcing our Deputy Director

Malou Blog Post


We are pleased to announce that long-time NWIRP staff member Malou Chávez has been selected as NWIRP’s first-ever Deputy Director. Malou has been a staff member at NWIRP for nearly 10 years and is a passionate, hardworking, and inspired advocate for our clients. She has held a variety of positions throughout her tenure, most recently serving as the supervising attorney of our Family Services Unit in Seattle. Malou has worked in our eastern and western Washington offices and cares deeply about providing services to clients throughout Washington state.

In her statement of intent for this position, Malou had this to say about her work at NWIRP:

A few weeks ago, I was asked by a law student if our work at NWIRP was hard. That day, I was frustrated that I could not change the outcome of a hearing I had that morning. At a master calendar hearing, our client who had been detained for a few months had been given the choice of voluntary departure or a removal order. His wife and four young children were present. Neither of the two options offered seemed fair for our client and his family. As the Immigration Judge was dictating his order, I began questioning whether I should have done something differently or presented more evidence.

When I finally found the words to respond to the student, I let her know that working within a system that is inherently racist and xenophobic at a time when immigrants’ rights are under especially intense attack is not easy. But for this same reason, it is all the more important. My work at NWIRP is inspired by our clients’ resilience and my family’s and my own immigrant experience. The conversation reminded me that although I could only do so much within the constraints of the system, I could and must continue to push for change and equity for our clients by continuing to make conscious decisions concerning what is in my control.

We are excited for Malou to use her significant talents, gifts, and passion for social justice in this new role.