BUFFALO, NY – Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations was a visitor to the Queen City on Friday, making several stops in a city she says has become somewhat of a model for welcoming refugees who have flourished in their new home.
"I know that 14,000 refugees have been resettled here over 15 years," Power said while visiting a refugee center on Buffalo’s west side operated by Catholic Charities. “It’s one of the largest resettlement communities in the northeast, and we heard a lot about the entrepreneurship of the refugee community here."
She got a firsthand look at that at the West Side Bazaar, where a host of refugees and immigrants have opened a variety of businesses.
"I can’t even think of a time when I met a refugee that wants anything other than to be speaking English, be independent, and watch their children grow up to be leaders in their communities,” Power said.
Earlier in the day, Power and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) were asked of their thoughts about the impact on refugees from the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
“We don't know yet. Obviously the campaign had a lot of very harsh rhetoric about immigrants and refugees,” said Gillibrand.
“In a climate of fear and when fears are stoked, and in a time of polarized messages and so forth, it's easy to forget the individual stories, about the circumstances people fled and how grateful they are just to be here,” Power said.
While President-elect Trump talked much about cracking down on "illegal" immigration, and better screening of refugees -particularly from nations like Syria, he also calls for making the process of coming here easier for so called "desirable" immigrants, measured by their likelihood of success and ability to be financially self-sufficient.