City improving outreach to growing immigrant & refugee community

Jun 11, 2015

As Buffalo's immigrant and refugee population continues to grow dramatically, Mayor Byron Brown is working to enhance the city's Office of New Americans. The city said it wants to make sure new residents receive the right assistance.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on steps of City Hall with members of city's immigrant and refugee community.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

"This is another very  special day in the City of Buffalo," said Brown on Wednesday. 

Members of Buffalo's immigrant and refugee community surrounded the mayor on the steps of City Hall as he discussed the rapid growth of Buffalo's newer residents.

"Last year, Buffalo resettlement agencies welcomed over 1,000 refugees with an additional 1,500 more residents expected to settle in Buffalo by next year, and that is significant," said Brown. "That is more than 2,500 new people in the City of Buffalo."  

The effort includes working closely with the Buffalo Police Department, following criticisms from some members of the immigrant communities on recent difficulties with crime.  

"The Office of New Americans is working with the police department and recently participated in a law enforcement roundtable called Building Communities of Trust," said Brown.

Work is underway to make sure the new residents have access to city services, according to Jessica Lazarin, who is leading the city's Office of New Americans.

"This means that very soon, when Buffalo residents call 311 and have immigrant questions, questions about naturalization, questions about service providers for immigrant related questions, they will be connected to the New York Sate New Americans Hotline, and that hotline has individuals that will give live service in over 200 languages," stated Lazarin.

Brown announced that a New American Study and the Welcome Cities and Counties Project are both underway. World Refugee Day will be held June 20 and 21. Brown also declared June Immigrant Heritage Month in Buffalo.