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Chair of NYS Assembly’s Task Force on New Americans Visits Buffalo Calling for Increased Funding

By March 1, 2024No Comments

International Institute of Buffalo (IIB) Executive Director Jennifer Rizzo-Choi joined Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera, State Senator Sean Ryan, and representatives of the Refugee Partnership (TRP) to welcome the Chair of NYS Assembly’s Task Force on New Americans, Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest to Buffalo as they all called for $8 million in funding for the New York State Enhanced Services to Refugees Program (NYSESRP).

NYSESRP supplements federal funding for refugee resettlement agencies to fully serve recent New American arrivals with long-term services, so those families can access to safe housing and proper support to integrate them into society quickly and easily. This funding is part of a list of budgetary and legislative priorities to help New Americans in New York.

Assemblymember Souffrant Forrest said, “New York thrives on diversity; it’s the engine of our innovation, cultural richness, and economic growth. Supporting asylum seekers is not just a moral imperative—it is a strategic investment in our future. By welcoming asylum seekers and investing in their integration and success, we are fostering an environment where families flourish, communities thrive, and the economy expands. By providing them with the necessary resources to build new lives, we are enhancing our workforce, fostering a diverse community, and ensuring that New York remains a beacon of hope and opportunity on the global stage. Our commitment to asylum seekers today is a commitment to our state’s legacy and leadership tomorrow.”

Assemblymember Souffrant Forrest (District 57), State Sen. Sean Ryan, and Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera (District 149)

Assemblymember Souffrant Forrest, State Sen. Sean Ryan, and Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera

Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, Executive Director at the International Institute of Buffalo, said, “The funding makes excellent economic sense to invest in refugees and asylum seekers. Funding more extended case management, legal services, employment services, language, and other programs can only help our New American neighbors integrate more quickly. This is good for them and their families but also for the economies of Buffalo and Western New York.”

The Refugee Partnership is made up of local agencies that serve New Americans in Western New York. In addition to IIB, the group includes Catholic Charities of Buffalo, Jewish Family Services of Western New York, Journey’s End Refugee Services, and Jericho Road Community Health Center.

Click here to see the latest Task Force on New Americans report.

Click here to learn more about how IIB helps New Americans integrate into the community.