NYSBA Publishes New Immigration Book Highlighting Benefits of Refugee Resettlements in Upstate NY

By Christian Nolan

October 6, 2021

NYSBA Publishes New Immigration Book Highlighting Benefits of Refugee Resettlements in Upstate NY


By Christian Nolan

As New York prepares to welcome Afghan refugees who have fled the Taliban regime, a new book traces the history of a largely successful but little-known federal resettlement program that has benefitted both the refugees and the upstate New York communities in which they settled.

The New York State Bar Association partnered with the Government Law Center at Albany Law School and the Rockefeller Institute of Government for the release of the comprehensive new book – “Immigration: Key to the Future – The Benefits of Resettlement to Upstate New York.” Following extensive research, the authors see refugees as major contributors to the economic vitality of upstate communities.

The federal government, which determines where resettlement occurs, directed that approximately 6% of the refugees admitted to the U.S. since 2002 be resettled in New York, and of that number, 90% be resettled in upstate New York. Skeptics said that introducing thousands of refugees into upstate communities would be a combustible combination.

“Helping offset the demographic and economic decline in upstate New York communities, refugees pay taxes, rebuild housing stock, open stores, and take unfilled jobs,” said the book’s editor-in-chief, Scott Fein, a partner at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna in Albany. “As this book has noted, it takes time, support and patience, but in relatively short order, refugees are helping to rejuvenate upstate communities. The research embodied in this book demolishes old myths and replaces them with an array of facts that are compelling, persuasive and overwhelmingly positive.”

The 23-chapter, 406-page book focuses on the question of whether refugees contribute to a community’s prosperity or are a drain on a community’s safety net and resources. The book includes contributions from 30 experts in academia, the business and legal communities, service organizations, and statisticians who – through economic and demographic analysis – assembled data and provided perspectives to address this question.

“If we can enhance citizens’ awareness of the facts about immigration – perhaps by influencing policymakers with such deep analysis as is available here – then we may find a humane and practical resolution to this complex issue that will last for a generation or more,” said Rex Smith, former editor-at-large of the Times Union who penned the book’s foreword. “In a nation that has throughout its existence depended upon the energy and creativity of successive waves of immigrants, and whose citizens today stand as markers of the success of their immigrant forebears, that’s a goal fervently to be desired.”

The cost to purchase the book is $20 for NYSBA members and $29 for non-members. For more information on “Immigration: Key to the Future” please visit: nysba.org/products/immigration-key-to-the-future/.

About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.


Contact: Christian Nolan
[email protected]

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