Refugee Council USA Appoints New Director

Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) is pleased to announce the selection of Mary Giovagnoli, an experienced leader in both government and non-profit immigration law and policy, as the new director of the coalition.  Ms. Giovagnoli, a dynamic leader whose experience includes both domestic and international refugee and asylum policy issues, will begin her duties on March 5, 2018.

RCUSA is the collective voice for 25 secular and faith based refugee resettlement and advocacy organizations. The coalition is devoted to ensuring that the United States refugee protection and resettlement program is robust, secure and responsive to the extraordinary needs of refugee and displaced communities.

Most recently, RCUSA has been a vocal opponent of the draconian cuts to refugee admissions and a champion for promoting a strong humanitarian agenda for the resettlement of refugees in the United States and around the world.

Refugee Council Chair Hans van de Weerd is delighted with Giovagnoli’s appointment: “We are very fortunate that during a very challenging time for refugees and the refugee settlement program we have been able to identify a strong and knowledgeable leader that will further strengthen the work of RCUSA.

Ms. Giovagnoli brings more than twenty years of experience in refugee, asylum, and immigration law and policy to her new position at RCUSA.  Most recently, she served as the Senior Director for Public Policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

From February 2015 to January 2017, Ms. Giovagnoli held the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration Policy at the Department of Homeland Security.

Ms. Giovagnoli began her legal career as a Department of Justice Honors Attorney with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, later joining the INS General Counsel’s office as a member of the Refugee and Asylum Law Division, and, following the creation of DHS, continued to serve in that role at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Following several years as the Senior Adviser to the Director of Congressional Relations at USCIS, Ms. Giovagnoli was detailed to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007 to assist in comprehensive immigration reform efforts.

Between 2008 and 20015, she worked in the non-profit sector as a Senior Director for Policy at the National Immigration Forum,  and as the Director of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council.

Ms. Giovagnoli noted, “It is a deep honor to lead RCUSA.  The future of America’s refugee program, our commitment to asylum seekers, and our nation’s reputation as a beacon of freedom and opportunity for the persecuted and oppressed have all been called into question in the last year.  I look forward to working with the talented, committed individuals and organizations that comprise RCUSA to advocate for laws and policies that protect the vulnerable and reinforce America’s role as a welcoming and diverse country.”

Contact: Danielle Grigsby, Associate Director, RUCSA,