Immigrant Rights Advocates & Faith Leaders Welcome Asylum Seekers to Erie County, Applaud County Exec Poloncarz

Video of the press conference is available here

New York—Today, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), Jericho Road Community Health Center, Justice for Migrant Families, allies, faith leaders, member organizations, and immigrant New Yorkers rallied and held a press conference at Niagara Square in support of welcoming asylum seekers to the Buffalo area. They stood together as the City Of Good Neighbors to denounce the hate and racism that has surrounded the potential arrival of asylum seekers in Western New York.

On Tuesday, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that asylum seekers would be coming to the Buffalo area from New York City, and that his county was ready to support the effort. The Buffalo area is already home to over 12,000 refugees from Afghanistan, Congo, Ecuador, Somalia, Ukraine, Venezuela and other countries, and we look forward to building on this rich legacy of welcoming immigrants to Erie County, however long they might be staying here. 

“Immigrants make up the lifeblood of Buffalo. For decades, people have come and settled here from all over the world – immigrants are our neighbors, classmates and co-workers. They are a part of our communities, and have rebuilt our economy. We are proud to stand up to welcome any new asylum seekers who may come to Buffalo, and applaud our local officials who have let people know that no matter where you come from, and no matter how long you stay, we are the City of Good Neighbors for everyone. We know that when we support our immigrant neighbors, we all thrive,” said Meghan Maloney de Zaldivar, Upstate Director of Organizing and Strategy, New York Immigration Coalition.

“Jericho Road's Vive Shelter has welcomed and cared for asylum seekers for years. We cherish this opportunity to join a collaborative effort in supporting our newest neighbors. We believe that caring for asylum seekers is loving your neighbor and we always look forward to doing more of that," said Matt Tice, VIVE Shelter Director, Jericho Road Community Health Center. 

“People of Buffalo and Western New York know what it is to do everything they can to provide for their families and ensure a better present and future for their children, and for this reason we are well positioned to welcome people who have had to uproot their lives to do just that. Buffalo has historically been a landing place for immigrants and we know how to receive and support people and do it well. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz's leadership and values stand in sharp contrast to the cowardly and hateful statements that have been made by officials in neighboring counties and represents a grounded plan in coordination with local organizations and state officials,” said Jennifer Connor, Executive Director, Justice for Migrant Families WNY.