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Buffalo’s immigration office moving up Delaware Avenue

The federal government’s immigration agency is moving its Buffalo field office, taking over most of a three-story building on Delaware Avenue.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security, will occupy the entire first and second floors of its new home at 306 Delaware, at Tracy Street, taking up 26,325 square feet of space under a new lease.

That’s about 10 percent more space than it had in its old quarters at 130 Delaware, where it occupied 23,814 square feet and shared the building with sister agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including the ICE detention center for illegal immigrants.

The move was prompted by the expiration of the agency’s current lease and a desire by senior officials to create “full-service, customer-centric buildings” that can “efficiently process the full range of immigration benefits,” said agency spokeswoman Paula Grenier. The office employs about 55 to 60 federal and contract employees.

CIS, formerly one third of the old Immigration and Naturalization Services prior to 2003, oversees legal immigration to the United States, including immigration, citizenship, adoptions, work visas and related services. It has 19,000 employees at 223 offices worldwide.

The Buffalo location oversees field operations in Western, Central and Upstate New York, Connecticut and Vermont, and the Buffalo Field Office, which serves a 24-county area from Buffalo and the Pennsylvania border to Central New York. It also covers Erie, McKean and Warren counties in western Pennsylvania.

The field office handles general inquiries and conducts immigrant benefit interviews for citizenship, naturalization or status adjustment. It also runs the national program for issuing citizenship certificates for children adopted abroad by U.S. citizens.

Additionally, the facility includes the Buffalo Application Support Center, where applicants for immigration benefits can complete the biometric portion of their application that requires fingerprints, photos and signatures.

The move will take place over the next week, with the office closing its old facility as of Oct. 21, and reopening Oct. 28 at the new location. Anyone needing emergency immigration services in the interim may call (800) 375-5283 or visit the field office in Syracuse, at 213 S. Salina St.

The new location is owned by the estate of Joseph P. Mosey Jr., which is controlled by attorney Acea Mosey.