How will Biden’s new immigration order affect WNY?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Roughly 600 asylum seekers are still living in western New York hotels, awaiting the next steps in their applications for asylum since being brought here from New York City last year.

Experts on the topic say Biden’s new immigration order will keep that number the same.

“The closing of the border may impact people showing up here, but it’s hard to know who would have crossed the border with an intent to come here or not,” Jennifer Rizzo-Choi, executive director of the International Institute of Buffalo, said.

The new executive action will block certain migrants seeking asylum from entering the U.S., denying entry once the daily number surpasses 2,500. The latest figures indicate an average of 3,800 entries per day.

News 4 asked Rizzo-Choi how this will affect immigrants coming into WNY, if at all.

“It’s clearly going to make it harder to come into our country and seek asylum if there is a surge,” she said. “And they essentially closed the border for a period. So, we may see fewer people coming here, at least those who are seeking asylum.”

What happens if someone is the 2,501st person at the border?

“The Biden administration has carved out exceptions for children, for victims of human trafficking and for people who have extreme medical conditions,” Rizzo-Choi continued. “What I will say is that this measure that’s been put in place right now does infringe upon the international obligations that we signed up for, as well as what I would say is the true spirit of our law, which is to protect those seeking refuge and give them a chance to seek asylum and permanency here.”

The American Civil Liberties Union said it plans to challenge Biden’s actions in court.

Political analyst Jack O’Donnell notes this move comes with recent polls showing that voters rate Biden poorly on border security.      

“There are a lot of Democrats who wanted to see it sooner,” O’Donnell said. “I do think that the Biden administration has moved cautiously to try to craft a policy that is fairer to those people who want a better tomorrow and want to follow that American dream.”

The policy follows the stalling of bipartisan border security legislation in Congress, becoming what Rizzo-Choi called “‘just a quick fix to a bigger problem.”

“It’s not looking at giving people work permits faster, which really would alleviate some of the problems because people could then care for themselves and not be relying on a charity like the City of New York, for instance,” Rizzo-Choi concluded.

There are currently close to 600 asylum seekers in Amherst and Cheektowaga receiving support from Jewish Family Services, who entered a $22.4 million contract with New York City this month to provide support at no cost to local taxpayers.

Latest Local News

How will Biden’s new immigration order affect WNY?

Fitness at Canalside returns for their 13th season

Buffalo loses appeal over PD’s qualified immunity claim

State passes bill requiring inspections of cave attractions

Man sentenced for possessing 200,000 images of child porn

Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *