Trump refugee cap has slashed number of refugees in Buffalo

Oct 23, 2018

The Trump administration's decision to slash the annual cap on refugees to the United States is starting to have an effect on chronically struggling, shrinking cities such as Buffalo.

Credit Joel Rose / WBFO News

Cities like Buffalo have come to depend on a steady flow of refugees to help invigorate the economy.

Blighted blocks were tidied up by new arrivals from Iraq. Shops selling Ethiopian cuisine opened and employers snapped up workers from Myanmar and South Sudan.

Credit Nick Lippa / WBFO News

Trump cited national security last year when his administration cut the annual refugee cap from 110,000 to a historically low 45,000. That comes as the number of refugees in Buffalo has dropped from nearly 2,000 to just under 450 in the last two years.

Some are concerned Trump's cap may hinder Buffalo's modest resurgence. Employers say they are having a tougher time filling jobs. Landlords are noticing fewer refugee families seeking to rent.

“What I worry about is,” tweeted International Institute Executive Director Eva Hassett responding, “where are the people who are going to take the jobs, start the businesses and buy the houses?”