Immigration & Refugee Assistance

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Catholic Charities of Buffalo has provided services to the immigrant and refugee populations in Western New York since it was founded in 1923. Pre- and post-arrival services such as assistance with housing, food, clothing, employment, English Language Learners classes and immigration services are provided to our resettlement clients.

Immigration and Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP)

Our Resettlement clients arrive in the United States through the auspices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS) and only after approval from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Refugees considered for resettlement by the United States must pass through a series of security screenings aimed at ensuring they will not pose a security risk. The information examined to confirm a refugee’s identity is checked against law enforcement, the intelligence community, and other relevant databases, including those administered by the National Counterterrorism Center, Department of Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of State, and Department of Homeland Security. If there is doubt about whether an applicant poses a security threat, the individual will not be admitted to the U.S.


Employment Services

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The Employment Services program supports refugees in their efforts to become self-sufficient by helping them overcome the barriers to employment, and assisting them throughout their employment search.

Our staff helps individuals to:

  • Develop an appropriate employment plan
  • Search for a job
  • Complete applications
  • Complete employment paperwork
  • Write a resume
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Gain job skills training

Immigration Needs

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Immigration services available include assistance with:

  • Completion of Affidavits of Relationship or Affidavits of Support for individuals attempting to reunite with family members left behind
  • Permanent Residence Applications
  • Naturalization Applications
  • Travel Document Applications

Immigration services are offered on a for-fee basis. Fees are adjusted based on clients’ ability to pay.

We are an Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP) recognized agency with accredited representatives on staff.

Medical Case Management

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Our Preferred Communities program offers intensive case management for refugees who need assistance navigating the health care system. This program assigns a case manager to help clients make medical appointments, attend appointments and advocate for the client.

Donations & Volunteering

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We welcome donations of furniture, clothing, school supplies, etc. to assist in resettlement of our clients. A complete list is included here. We also provide several volunteer and service learning opportunities at the Immigration and Refugee Assistance Program. If you are interested in donating or volunteering, please call (716) 842-0270 ext. 211.

Contact Information

We are located at 20 Herkimer St., Buffalo, NY 14213. Case Management and Employment Services are available by appointment. Please call to make an appointment. Immigration Services walk-in hours are every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to 11:30 a.m. You can make an appointment or obtain more information by calling (716) 842-0270 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information on the legal refugee resettlement process please click the links below:

USCCB Migration and Refugee Services
U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services