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Upstate NY Assembly pushes for refugee resettlement funding

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Posted at 4:40 PM, Feb 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-15 16:40:41-05

Upstate New York Assemblymembers are pushing for $12 million in funding for refugee resettlement agencies after concerns over President Donald Trump’s refugee ban.

If implemented, it could cost agencies millions of dollars in lost revenue and seriously impact their ability to help resettled refugees. Refugee resettlement agencies are provided funding on a per arrival basis. If no new arrivals are coming, that means no funding.

Assemblymember Sean Ryan says the refugee ban would also result in staff cuts and the loss of jobs.

Members of the state assembly say the ban could affect 5,028 resettled refugees in upstate communities. That’s 94% of all refugees resettled in New York.

Thirty-six percent – or 1,800 refugees -- have been resettled in Erie County.

Assemblymembers are also asking for a new state program that would provide funding for refugee resettlement agencies beyond the initial 90-day resettlement period. Agencies receive federal funding during that time to help refugees get their kids in school and begin finding a job.

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said "Upstate cities such as Albany, Buffalo and Utica have experienced tremendous economic impacts from refugee resettlement, which has enriched the fabric of our communities and schools.  Refugees are vigorously and thoroughly vetted prior to entry to the US, and by denying them the necessary resources to transition and thrive, we stand to put all this at risk.”