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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2015 Archives > June 2015 > Immigrant Heritage Month

Immigrant Heritage Month


June 10, 2015 - Mayor Byron W. Brown issued a proclamation today in recognition of June as Immigrant Heritage Month in Buffalo. Joining him was Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen and Jessica M. Lazarin, director of the Mayor’s Office of New Americans (ONA), and members of the City’s immigrant and refugee community.  The Mayor also made several announcements about the work of the ONA to ensure that Buffalo’s newly arrived communities are welcomed and supported.

“We’re committed to building Buffalo’s growing reputation as a welcoming, inclusive, global city,” said Mayor Brown, noting that the number of foreign-born residents in Buffalo continues to grow dramatically, with a 95% increase between 2006 and 2013.  “In Buffalo, we are proud of our diversity. Immigrants and refugees are our friends, neighbors, co-workers and employees. They are starting businesses, revitalizing neighborhoods, and contributing to our city’s continued population growth. Our government must continue to foster their integration into the social, civic and economic culture of our City and at the same time, celebrate the rich diversity of the communities from which they originate.”

In 2013, the American Community Survey reported that Buffalo is home to over 23,000 foreign-born residents, a near doubling of the foreign-born population since 2006. Last year, Buffalo welcomed over 1,100 refugees, with an additional 1,500 new residents expected to settle in Buffalo by next year. More than 70 languages are now spoken by students who attend Buffalo Public schools. In recognition of Immigrant Heritage Month, Mayor Brown announced that:

  • The Office of the Mayor will soon release the City of Buffalo New Americans Study, currently undergoing its final review. 
  • The City of Buffalo has joined the Welcoming Cities and Counties Project, advancing Buffalo as a location of choice for immigrants and refugees. This nationwide project is an initiative of Welcoming America, a not for profit organization seeking to help U.S. communities achieve prosperity by becoming more welcoming toward immigrants.
  • The Office of New Americans, under the leadership of Jessica Lazarin, is conducting an internal review to improve the local immigrant and refugee community’s access to city services.
    • ONA is working closely with The City of Buffalo’s Division of Citizen Services to soon connect Buffalo’s 311 Call & Resolution Center with the New York State New Americans Hotline; this will enable Buffalo residents who are seeking general information and referrals on local immigration and naturalization issues to receive live assistance in over 200 languages.
    • ONA is working closely with Buffalo Police on a number of initiatives, including the recent participation in a local, state and federal law enforcement roundtable discussion, called Building Communities of Trust.
    • ONA is working closely with the City of Buffalo Division of Youth on Mayor Brown’s Summer Youth Employment Program; this year 1,450 youth will be hired, including 50 positions designated for at risk youth.
  • ONA has participated in a number of other collaborative meetings with Buffalo’s resettlement and post-resettlement agencies, as well as with leaders of the immigrant and refugee community.
  • ONA is working to develop integrated partnerships with service agencies, health organizations and academic institutions to link the City’s immigrant population to economic, educational, vocational and cultural opportunities in Buffalo.

Director Lazarin welcomed members of the World Refugee Day Planning Committee, who shared details for this year’s World Refugee Day events in Buffalo on June 20 and June 21.

“Today’s Proclamation is an exciting step in the establishment of new and innovative efforts to create a more welcoming Buffalo for new arrivals and for all City residents,” said Director Lazarin. “Together, we can work to maximize opportunity for economic growth and cultural vitality.”

Members of the City’s refugee and immigrant community and representatives from local service providers and resettlement agencies were in attendance. 

 For more information, contact Jessica M. Lazarin in the Mayor’s Office of New Americans, at or 851-4315.