In Memoriam: Frederik “Fred” Stefani

Migration Resource Center is very sad to announce that the founding Executive Director of The Migration Resource Center, Frederik “Fred” Stefani, passed away on September 4, 2021, at age 53.

The Board of Directors and Staff of The Migration Resource Center send their deepest condolences to Fred’s wife Anila Stefani, daughter Yona, mother Dhimitra, brother Sokol, sisters Tefta and Sonila, and to his many colleagues and friends.

Born in Albania in 1968, Fred moved to the United States of America when he was 20 years old. He graduated from American Public University with a BS in Legal Studies. He worked in the immigration field for over 15 years serving with various organizations, including Catholic Migration Services of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Fred founded the Migration Resource Center on Staten Island in 2015 and has served as its Executive Director since. Under his guidance, the organization grew into a strong and valuable member of the nonprofit sector on Staten Island. Fred served on the Board of Directors of the Staten Island Not For Profit Association and was a member of the American Bar Association, and New York Immigration Coalition.

A person of deep commitment and hope for a better future, Fred devoted his career to helping families and individuals by resolving their immigration and tax issues. Fred’s professionalism as an immigration legal counselor changed the lives of over 1,000 clients who came to the Migration Resource Center door in a desperate situation, hoping to find a solution. He served each client with devotion and compassion; working days, nights, and weekends just to prepare the best case which would bring the long desired legal papers. 

As Sue Burns, MRC Grants Program Manager, remembers Fred,

“In the five years I’ve worked with Fred, he has become a true colleague and friend. In our weekly meetings, I could see how deeply personal each client was to him. They weren’t just clients; they were people with families, hopes, and dreams. He wanted to give each of them the best possible opportunity to succeed.”

Fred was a mentor to many students, interns, and volunteers who worked with the Migration Resource Center in the past 5 years. He was always eager to create opportunities for a younger generation, inspiring them with his passion for immigration law to help those in need. He was an innovative leader and a kind colleague. He always led by example and aimed to build a team that thrived on trust and respect. He created a community around his work and impacted each member for life.   

Reflecting on Fred’s legacy, Board Member Guranda D’Souza stated,

“I met Fred at the Catholic Migration Services in late December. It was right after Christmas and days before the New Year. Everyone knows not much gets done during those dates in the calendar, but that memo never reached Fred’s desk. He was so enthusiastic about the task at hand and the work ahead. That meeting started our friendship of 18 years, which grew stronger with every milestone in our lives, from the birth of Yona, Fred and Ani’s beloved daughter to the birth of my own daughter and later son, to numerous celebrations and dinners together. Fred was a deeply committed individual, he was devoted to his loving family and to helping others through his work. He was a consummate relationship builder, hospitable, generous in every way but above all, he was passionate about helping those in need! Out of that passion and fervent desire to be of service, he founded the MRC and gave me an opportunity to serve on the Board. Through Fred’s vision and determination, in the past 5 years, MRC has helped over 1,000 families with Immigration and Tax services. I strongly believe the ripple effect of his life’s work and his friendships will continue to have a far-reaching impact across the world. May Fred’s legacy of service to others be an inspiration to us all and may his memory be eternal!”

Migration Resource Center will continue to operate and provide services
to its clients and community. The Board has appointed Tom De Kesel and Victoria Apostol-Marius to serve as the Interim Co-Executive Directors.