Now that President Biden has pledged to increase the number of asylum seekers “beyond the level of the Obama deal,” there is a growing expectation that Buffalo can resume its successful asylum programs. New York State Sen. Sean Ryan recently expressed support for the resumption of the UN refugee resettlement program, which will pave the way for a return to normal business.
“There is no doubt that we will face tremendous challenges in the coming months and years,” Ryan said. “President Biden has promised to take control of the pandemic and effectively manage the distribution of vaccines that will end the crisis once and for all. As the pandemic and economic growth plans take shape, we must also look at the important ways of further treating our nation after the Trump presidency, in which separatist rhetoric is entirely aimed at immigrants and refugees. The previous administration worked diligently to tell immigrants and refugees that they were not welcome in America.
“Here in New York, we know that diversity is a force and that migrants and refugees contribute to the prosperity of our communities. Now is the time to return from the course and bring more refugees back to Buffalo and communities across our great state.”
94% of refugees who come to New York are housed in Upstate communities.
Since 2002, Buffalo has benefited from 16,000 refugees finding housing. This not only contributes to the city’s census numbers, but also helps to strengthen our residential and commercial neighborhoods. As more and more small businesses emerge, areas like Grant Street and Amherst will see immediate economic benefits.
Culturally, Buffalo has also won awards with the emergence of restaurants and small markets, shops and even the beloved Wes Side Market. The image of the West has changed for the better, and many now hope that a new wave of refugees could have a similar impact on the Black East.
Senator Ryan is not the only one to speak out in support of a “new day” for refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Ryan says he wants to significantly increase funding for WNY immigration organizations that are helping immigrant populations in their new environment. In recent years, 14 WNY resettlement institutions have faced funding shortfalls as the flow of refugees has slowed. In an effort to restore momentum, Ryan is looking for $ 5 million a year, up from the $ 1 million projected in 2000.
It is estimated that Buffalo has lost more than 8,000 refugee admissions in the last four years.
Eva Hassett, Executive Director of the International Institute, said, “The Biden administration will set a new agenda and tone for our country. As we have for the past 100 years, we look forward to working with federal, state, and local partners to ensure that foreign nationals have access to essential services and assistance, to freely use it for progress, and to be welcomed and celebrated in our community. Refugees have made and continue to make an extraordinary contribution to our communities, and data show that refugees bring economic benefits to their communities, in addition to increasing the diversity and prosperity of the places we call home. As the New York State struggles with a projected $ 15 billion deficit, we encourage state legislators to tax native New Yorkers about $ 630 million in taxes and control $ 1.4 billion in spending power each year. Now we need to invest more than ever in the growth of a society that supports such an economy of ours. We urge New York to continue the vital funding reform of the NYSESRP, which will provide immigration agencies across the state with the necessary capacity to make New York a destination for immigrants and refugees. ”
“If the last four years have taught us anything, it is that disgusting rhetoric combined with a policy of xenophobia can provoke our friends and foreign neighbors and put them at risk,” said Karen M. Andolina Scott, executive director of Journey’s End Refugee Services. . “While the federal government has used every opportunity to stop immigration and segregate and imprison those seeking asylum, the foreign-born population is once again showing us how they are the backbone of our economy, working and becoming a member. important for the WNY community around the world to serve the COVID-19 crisis. We look forward to working with NYS administrators and agencies at the end of our visit to President Biden and his administration, who promise to work for the rights of migrants and refugees. , recognizing that our state is vital to the population of foreign nationals. Our mission is to welcome our new neighbors and help facilitate their transition to a new life. It is imperative at all levels of our government to protect not only migrants and refugees. rather, they provide the resources needed to integrate migrants and refugees into our society on an equal footing. ”
Dr. Molly S. Short Carr, executive director of the New York Jewish Family Service, said, “Western New Jewish Family Services looks forward to working with our partners across the country to rebuild refugee resettlement infrastructure during the Biden administration. West New York has a long history of welcoming refugees with open hearts and minds. Over the last four years, we have seen a decline in refugees as a loss to our communal well-being. Now, we have the opportunity to refresh and rehabilitate here, in West New York, and explore ways we can better support our refugee communities. JFS hopes to work with our public and private partners to keep New York City as a premier resettlement community. ”
“With the change in the presidential administration, Catholic charities have the power to quickly anticipate‘ aliens ’in large numbers because we are invited,” said Deacon Steve Schumer, president and chief executive of Buffalo Catholic Charities. “We are ready to rebuild the infrastructure to support and reassure those who are migrants and refugees. In fact, we’re ready to stay there four years ago. While our light never goes out, a few refugees who did not deserve a new life out of fear can reach the lamp of our hope. We look forward to working closely with the State of New York and all partners seeking to relocate Buffalo and Western New York to and with the efforts of immigrants and refugees. “
Leading image: Photo by Marcus tits