CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York would look much different than it does today without all the immigrants and asylum seekers, they make up a quarter of the State’s population. NEWS10 is talking with Capital Region groups who help those seeking a new life and acclimate to their new world.
“Let’s help each other as a human, as an American society,” said the Afghan American Community Center President, Mohammed Zamani.
New York has been welcoming immigrants and refugees from all over the world for decades. There are an estimated 4.4 million immigrants in the state.
Here in the Capital Region, the Afghan American Community Center, AACC, just opened their doors in May to what they are calling a one-of-kind operation.
“To educate these people, to help themselves and help the society. And we try to teach them English and find them jobs so they can come off [being] on social services and they can stand on their feet,” said Zamani.
The new community center is open to all walks of life. Not just the Afghan community. They are already helping many folks adjust to their new surroundings, find jobs, get kids enrolled in school and they help get them their drivers licenses.
“So, now most of them are doing very great, happy. [They are] having a lot of jobs [and] that are in careers. Even some of them [have] bought their own houses, which is very great,” said Vice President of AACC, Yousaf Sherzad.
Daniel Butterworth, Executive Director of Refugee and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus, RISSE, says the Capital Region is more than prepared to handle the needs of the asylum seekers.
“We are already providing these services to folks who may lack documented status. And you know we figured it out. Nonprofit organizations, we often operate on a shoestring with limited resources. We get creative when we have to,” said Butterworth.
“As a region that’s over a million people, the Capital Region can absorb 100. You know, we have that capability and we’re ready to do it,” said Butterworth.
The folks with the AACC can relate to the people at the southern border trying to find refuge as they know the process all too well.
“And most of us have been through that asylum seeking procedure and we did suffer. And now the technology is here, the lifestyle is changed. So, we want to make sure and tell them that don’t worry, we are here for you. We have been in the situation you are in now and we will try our best to make it very easy for you,” said Sherzad.