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Ben Stiller joins coalition fighting to fund state refugee programs

State News

Actor Ben Stiller testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, May 2019, during a hearing on the humanitarian Impact of 8 years of war in Syria. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Ben Stiller—actor and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency—will join a coalition advocating to increase funding for the New York State Enhanced Services to Refugees Program on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

“When you see the face of it in person and what’s going on there now, it’s just very important that we do everything we can to help … Nobody chooses to be a refugee.”

Ben Stiller testifies before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, May 1, 2019. The group of refugee allies and activists will meet on the Million Dollar Staircase.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s recent Executive Budget includes no funding for NYSESRP. Alongside Stiller, the coalition urges the governor to add $5 million to the budget for NYSESRP to revitalize upstate cities and honor the state’s commitments to welcoming immigrants and refugees.

NYSESRP stimulates the economies of many upstate communities, where refugees contribute to both population and economic growth.

The coalition gathered with Stiller and New York State Reps. Andrew Gounardes, Rachel May, and Sean Ryan features refugee resettlement agencies and refugees from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany, New York City, and Long Island, along with the Fiscal Policy Institute and the New York Immigration Coalition.

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