BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With the expiration of Title 42, a COVID-19 pandemic order that made it easier to turn away migrants, New York state has seen an influx of immigrants without legal status entering the state.
Gov. Kathy Hochul is discussing potentially housing those people on SUNY campuses.
"I would say they should look to Buffalo as a model if they're going to try to do that in other parts of upstate New York," International Institute of Buffalo Executive Director Jennifer Rizzo-Choi said.
Rizzo-Choi said Western New York has experience with the scenario after roughly 600 refugees from Afghanistan came to the region in a matter of months roughly a year and a half ago.
"We've used this before. We used this for the Afghans when they came in in the fall of 2021 and early of 2022 and we didn't have the temporary housing available so at that time we used Buff State and a couple of the other campuses," she said.
Rizzo-Choi said because of the experience, she believes the path to opening up campuses to migrants may be simpler in Buffalo than other parts of upstate.
"The first time that we did it during the Afghan crisis there was a lot of conversation about security and insurance and the logistics of having a population on campus while you still have students there so all those things have to be hashed out in meetings," she said.
Meanwhile, Jericho Road's Vive Shelter which primarily serves migrants and asylum seekers confirms Buffalo State University is already helping with temporary placement and emergency support. It has been over capacity for months prior to Title 42's expiration and is also dealing with recent federal policy changes at the northern border.
Jericho Road would not give an exact number but is placing dozens of people at other locations, Buffalo State the largest of them, and continues to look for partnerships and alternatives.