Buffalo State alumnus Ba Zan Lin, ’14, served as the panel host. He is on the board of directors of Burmese Community Services and Partnership for the Public Good and a co-chair of the Buffalo Burmese Water Festival. Eva Hassett, executive director of the International Institute of Buffalo, also contributed to the discussion.
As part of WNED/WBFO’s ongoing program #MakingBuffaloHome that explores immigration topics, Fisher and Hassett examined the local economic ramifications of the recent drop in immigrant and refugee resettlements in WNY.
Hassett pointed out how over the last 15 years, immigrants started to reverse the decline in Buffalo’s population. However now, due to changes in Washington, the country and Western New York are seeing their lowest number of immigrants and refugees since 1980.
Fisher noted that demand for labor is what drives immigration and that historically Buffalo welcomed more immigrants than Ellis Island. Today, to sustain economic development, the city needs immigrants and refugees who contribute to educational and research institutions as well as small businesses.
To learn more about Making Buffalo Home, visit wned.org/makingbuffalohome.
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