Layla M. Razavi is the Policy Director at the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC). Layla plays an integral role in shaping the policy agenda and priorities for the organization, including providing policy analysis and counsel on critical issues impacting the safety and civil rights of immigrants. Her work carries a specialized focus on expanding due process protections for immigrants and communities of color at the state and national levels, including providing legal protection to immigrants at risk of detention or deportation. She regularly provides expert testimony to legislative committees, and provides strategic and policy counsel to local and state advocates, community organizers, and policy makers. Layla has appeared in and on various media outlets, including Fox News Latino, Al Jazeera and USA Today.
Prior to joining CIPC, Layla served as Advocacy and Policy Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) where she worked to defeat anti-immigrant policies, including policies that facilitate the deportation of migrants, and helped secure passage of pro-migrant victories in states and counties with unfavorable political climates. As Director of Human Migration and Mobility at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Layla focused in large part on national and transnational policies restricting the rights of refugees, unaccompanied minors, and people in need of international protection, with a particular focus on individuals and families fleeing Central America and Syria. Layla has also worked for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Equal Justice Society (EJS).
Layla’s passion for civil rights and freedom for immigrants is informed by her family’s activism prior to the Iranian revolution. She was born and raised in San Diego, CA and resides in San Francisco. Layla holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of California, Davis School of Law and received her BA in Political Theory from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She was a Fellow with the Center for California Studies and a nominee for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award. In her spare time, she writes fiction and creative nonfiction as part of an Iranian women's writing group. She is currently serving as a member of the advisory board for the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University.