Will political rhetoric end up hurting Buffalo?

Nov 5, 2018

Despite the president's heated claims about refugees and immigrants - a local organization continues helping new arrivals. The International Institute of Buffalo has been welcoming immigrants to Western New York for 100 years. 


The International Institute on Delaware Avenue has been helping resettle refugees under a federal program since 1980. Last year just over 260 refugees came through their doors.
    
"Sadly, none of the things that are being said have basis in fact," said Eva Hassett, the Institute's Executive Director.

International Institute of Buffalo Executive Director Eva Hassett
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

"There is no evidence to indicate that immigrants, whether they are documented or not, and you know there are lots of different kinds of immigrants, including refugees, are dangerous or more dangerous. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center talks about how two-thirds of the terrorist acts have been created by right wing extremists," and Hassett says, hateful talk is only going to scare new arrivals. "Remember, refugees by definition are people who were persecuted. That's how they got to be refugees," Hassett said.  

The foreign born, she says, are very important to Buffalo's future.
    
"You cannot grow an economy with a shrinking population. And the foreign born have been really the only significant source of in-migrating people, to Western New York, over the last 15-years," Hassett said.  

Being welcoming, she says, is not only the right thing to do - it can have a positive effect on the lives of Western New Yorkers.