A city built on refugees looks at trump’s plan with fear

Zainab Abdo, 21, a Syrian refugee, left, and Tara Media, an Iraqi refugee, at a job training session on Thursday with Vito LaMura, an International Institute of New England volunteer in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Their arrival was all the more remarkable because they may be among the last refugees allowed into the United States before President Donald Trump closes the borders. Hitting drills baseball He signed an executive order suspending the nation’s resettlement program temporarily, with an eye toward shrinking it when it resumes.

Ahmed and her family had never heard of Lowell, an old mill city about 30 miles northwest of Boston with red brick factories lining its canals, until they searched for it on Google from Kenya two weeks ago.

Lowell and its many nonprofit organizations devoted to refugees and immigrant groups are haltingly coming to terms with the idea that, at least for now, the flow of refugees here could stop or slow, a startling turnaround for a city built by immigrant labor.

People from French Canada, Ireland, Portugal and Poland powered Lowell’s once-mighty textile mills starting in the 1800s, and immigrants and refugees have found homes here ever since. Basketball games to play online It is a place where the history of immigration in the United States is writ large.

Many of the mills closed before World War II, and the city’s population declined, but it picked up again in the late 1970s as a wave of Cambodians fleeing the Khmer Rouge came to the city. Indoor basketball courts near me open to the public Today, Cambodians make up some 13 percent of the population, and Lowell has the second-largest Cambodian community in the country, after Long Beach, California. Fantasy baseball news A Cambodian represents part of Lowell in the state Legislature.

“Lowell has been replenished and re-energized by refugees and immigrants for generations,” said Jeffrey Thielman, president and chief executive of the International Institute of New England, which works with the federal government to resettle refugees in Lowell, Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire.

“We won’t feel it right away,” Thielman said of a halt in refugees, “but businesses will not have enough workers, and not having enough workers will inhibit Lowell’s ability to grow.”

The region’s economy and its immigrants are closely intertwined. Planning a garden Southwick, a factory in nearby Haverhill that makes suits for Brooks Brothers, offers four English classes per week for about 70 refugees and other immigrants who work there. Ideas for small gardens Thithi Aye, a Burmese refugee who arrived here in 2010, carpooled from Lowell to her job at Southwick every day with other refugees, including one from Iraq. Outdoor movies nyc Eventually, she was able to buy her own car, and then a condo.

Because there are so many nonprofit organizations, volunteers and government services here to support refugees, a decline in the number of refugees could lead to a withering of those support services.

“If everything’s closed off for a period of time, the problem would then be figuring out how to rebuild the infrastructure to welcome people in,” said Robert Forrant, a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, whose classes include third-generation Cambodians.

David Donovan, 25, an electrician and longtime Lowell resident, agreed that it was “reasonable” to suspend the resettlement program, even though he had voted for Clinton.

In the meantime, the city is continuing to absorb refugees like the newly arrived Ahmed family. Fencing sport near me On Thursday, the International Institute of New England helped organize a job fair here at which 18 other refugees met employers who were looking for workers in the health care field.

Among the refugees who attended the job fair was Zainab Abdo, 21, who came in May from Syria, where her home in Aleppo had been bombed. Softball games to play She said she was relieved to be here, had been treated well and was taking nursing classes at Middlesex Community College.

And yet, with Trump’s executive order in the works, she remains nervous about the future, especially for relatives still in Syria and Turkey, who she had hoped would be able to join her family here.

Luis Pedroso, an immigrant from the Azores who helped found an electronics factory, said that he had employees who were refugees and that he viewed Trump’s order as an overreaction.

“Lowell has been known as a location for so many different, diverse parts of the world,” he said. Online football games for pc “It’s a shame that Mr. Simple garden ideas Trump sees that he needs to be doing this.”