But what is the real Utica story?
Easily one of my greatest concerns about the whole resettlement process in the United States, is how can there be such widely divergent views on whether refugees have brought a “robust” economy and multicultural nirvana to a community, or not!
Is there no real investigative journalist willing to go to Utica, spend a little time, talk to everyone involved and report an accurate story about what has happened in the ‘Town that Loves Refugees’ (according to a 2005 United Nations propaganda campaign).
This is one more in those warm and fuzzy stories about how everything is copacetic in Utica. Of course the election of Donald Trump is the news hook for a reporter to once again tell the ‘good’ news about rebuilding cities with refugees.
Take a side trip now to Politico’s county by county breakdown and see that Trump actually won most of New York state including Oneida County (Utica) by a large margin. Presumably Trump’s views on refugees and immigration are in line with the largest numbers of voters in most of the state. Surely if the ‘good’ news on Utica was true after 11 years of beating that drum, the citizens there should all be on the side of more refugees. They apparently are not!
Back to Utica and yet another account of how refugees have supposedly brought boom times to the struggling city.
From the Gloucester Times:
UTICA — More than anywhere else in New York, this city in the Mohawk Valley has embraced people fleeing strife-torn countries.
But, now, Donald Trump’s election as president is stoking fear among refugees and their advocates, given his anti-immigrant rhetoric and focus on curtailing immigration.
A wall proposed for the Mexican border was a rhetorical fixture of Trump’s campaign, and he’s called refugees a “Trojan horse” whose ranks are infiltrated by “terrorists.”
“It is concerning to us,” said Shelly Callahan, director of the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, which coordinates the resettlement of newcomers here. [Mohawk Valley Resource Center is a subcontractor of primary federal resettlement contractor Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service—ed]
Over the past three decades, Utica has rolled out the welcome mat to an estimated 16,000 refugees.
Here we go again with Chobani Yogurt changing America to supply its labor needs (with the help of a fake ‘charity’):
In Utica, foreign-born people and their children account for about a quarter of the city’s population of 62,000, earning it the United Nations’ distinction as “the town that loves refugees.”
Refugees represent a new pool of immigrant labor, which Callahan said has been a major asset for regional businesses looking to expand or simply trying to fill jobs shunned by workers already living here.
In some cases, businesses that hire refugees are targeted.
One upstate employer that has taken on some refugees living in Utica, the Chobani yogurt plant in Chenango County, has been sharply criticized in recent weeks by a right-wing, pro-Trump website, Breitbart, for hiring Muslim immigrants.
Those reports have unleashed racist rants against Chobani and its founder, Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya.
In the last decades of the 20th century, Utica shed more than 20,000 jobs with the closings of two nearby General Electric plants, Griffiss Air Force Base in nearby Rome and a Lockheed Martin plant.
Its population of 100,410 people in 1910 had shriveled to 60,000 by 2010.
“Without them, we would have a city with less population, less cultural diversity and not as robust in terms of small business growth as it has been over the past couple of decades,” Brindisi said in an interview.
I have all sorts of questions and suspect that some economic growth (if it does exist) may well be that federal welfare dollars (remember when Nancy Pelosi famously said food stamps boost the economy!) are flowing to Utica with the refugees which is not real growth but just a redistribution of wealth from one group of taxpayers elsewhere to supply social services for the refugee flood to Utica.
And, here is why I’m posting this story:
There is not one bit of anything negative in here about what changes have been brought to Utica that are not welcome. Reporter Joe Mahoney must not know how to google! (And, this is why local newspapers are going belly-up! The NYT too!)
Where is the mention of how the school system there had to sue the state for more money to manage all the kids in the school system?
Utica (the town that loves refugees) is suing the state of NY for their refugee-generated school funding crisis
How about the story from last summer where the feds gave grants to the Utica area for summer jobs for special teenagers (refugees):
Then, how about:
Large numbers of refugees bring food stamp scammers to town:
From elsewhere in New York state:
Heads up Poughkeepsie, New York: ‘Christian’ charity to bring you Syrian Muslims likely before January 2017
You know what! Go back and look again at how red New York state is, here. Someone in New York should be writing a blog about the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program and pulling all this together!