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WKBW 7 News Buffalo

Border battle heats up in Buffalo

By Eileen Buckley,


The rallying cry from immigration groups is “Buffalo is the City of Good Neighbors" for those seeking asylum from the southern border, but at the same time, the anticipated arrival of migrants is being met with resistance by some political lawmakers.

“I don't understand how you can just dump a whole bunch of asylum seekers in a community without any game plan,” stated Jim Malczewski, legislator, Erie County Legislature. WKBW
Jim Malczewski, legislator, Erie County Legislature, asks for his resolution to be considered for a vote.

Republican Legislator Malczewski wants the county to declare a 'state of emergency' to stop those seeking asylum from the southern border from coming to Buffalo and was hoping to get his resolution passed Thursday, but instead it was sent to committee. WKBW
Erie County Legislature agenda.

Malczewski disagrees with County Executive Mark Poloncarz who is ready to welcome any arrivals and revealed Wednesday the state is considering possibly housing the migrants at SUNY Buffalo State University.

The county lawmaker insists vital services from housing to transportation to medical would be taken from county residents. WKBW
Jim Malczewski, legislator, Erie County Legislature.

“But who's taking them away from them?” Buckley asked.  “When people come here unexpectedly, you need to provide housing for them, you need to provide shelter housing,” replied. Malczewski. “The housing is going to be provided on a campus,” Buckley noted. “Okay, you need to provide shelter, which is the campus that could be taking away from students that potentially are going there. These are all services,” responded Malczewski. WKBW
Demonstration sign in Niagara Square Thursday.

But just two blocks from Erie County Hall in Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo there is a big support for migrants from immigration groups. They were waving signs saying “No Hate", “No Fear" and “No Human is Illegal”.

“No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” chanted demonstrators.

The New York Immigration Coalition, along with Jericho Road in Buffalo, Vive, Justice for Migrant Families, and other immigration groups and supporters gathered for a rally.

These organizations are in the business of helping those seeking asylum. But they admit they don't have details about where they will be sent and or how much funding will be provided. WKBW
Anna Mongo, Jericho Road.

“We don't have funding confirmed at this point. We are probably hearing the same thing that everybody is hearing, which is that there is funding available, but we don't yet know what that funding looks like,” remarked Anna Mongo, Jericho Road.

Jericho Road and Vive leaders say the asylum process can be long and are unsure how it would play out. WKBW
Matt Tice, Viva.

“It will all be determined by an individual case. We can not say that this will be how long it will be for this person, but it will be different for every single different person,” explained Matt Tice, Vive.

“I want to make one thing perfectly clear — a lot of the reactions that we have seen — is rooted in hate and racism,” declared Meghan Maloney de Zaldivar, New York Immigration Coalition. WKBW
Meghan Maloney de Zaldivar, New York Immigration Coalition.

“There's a lot of people on the other side of it that feel it's racist, not bringing them in and that these responses are racist,” Buckley questioned lawmaker Malczewski.

“Absolutely not racist. The “R" is correct. It's not racist. It's not responsible,” replied Malczewski.

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