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Refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo seek asylum in Buffalo

Vive is a local organization that helps refugees seek asylum, but it is currently at capacity.
A flag welcoming refugees was raised Saturday morning in front of Buffalo City Hall. WGRZ Photo/Jim Gibbons

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Dozens of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo have made their long journey to Buffalo in search of a better life. But now that those families are here, a local organization that helps refugees seek asylum is at capacity. 

That organization is called Vive. It's located on Buffalo's East Side and has been providing services to asylum seekers for more than 30 years.

These refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are in good health and just got to Buffalo last week.

A total of about one hundred people, half of them children, from the DRC were able to escape political turmoil in their native country. They flew to Brazil then took buses, and in some cases were forced to walk all the way to the U.S. Southern Border with Mexico and were able to apply for asylum. 

Leaders at Vive say the refugees chose to come to Buffalo, a decision that speaks to the diversity in the city. But this recent influx of refugees was not expected and has put Vive at capacity. 

Leaders at Vive say that it will take about two years for the refugees to have their asylum cases heard in immigration court.