Section 208. There is hereby established a council, to be known as the governor’s advisory council for refugees and immigrants, to consist of not less than 15 members and not more than 30 members, such members to serve without compensation. The members of the council shall be appointed by the governor for terms of one year. The membership of the council shall consist of persons who live in the commonwealth and shall include refugees, immigrants and other interested individuals. The chairman of the council shall be appointed by the governor and shall serve for a term of one year. The following shall also serve as members of the council, ex officio: the attorney general; the secretaries of the executive offices of health and human services and public safety, the director of the department of housing and community development, the commissioners of education, transitional assistance, public health, mental health, department of early education and care and employment and training and representatives from such other secretariats, departments, divisions or agencies as the governor, the secretary of health and human services, the director of the office for refugees and immigrants or the council may request. Such ex officio members may be represented by designees.
The functions of the council shall include but not be limited to: (a) advising the governor on policy, planning, and priorities for refugees and immigrants in the commonwealth; (b) assisting the director of the office for refugees and immigrants in coordinating the efforts of all public agencies concerned with services to refugees and immigrants and in promoting the accessibility of all state services; (c) increasing communication, mutual understanding, and willingness to cooperate among community groups and organizations that serve refugees and immigrants; and (d) increasing public understanding of the needs and contributions of refugees and immigrants. The council shall meet at least six times per year.