A city built on refugees looks at Trump’s plan with fear – Massachusetts News

A city built on refugees looks at Trump’s plan with fear – Massachusetts News

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. —Shiho Fukada / The New York Times

LOWELL, Mass. — When Hawo Ahmed, her two sisters and their mother arrived here late Wednesday night, the Somali family could hardly believe their good fortune.

“It’s like a dream come true,” Ahmed, 24, said.

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. 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.

But if Lowell is strange to them, having them here is not strange for Lowell.

Immigrants, including many refugees, are part of the fabric of life in this city of 108,000, which boasts a kaleidoscope of cultures. Downtown is bursting with restaurants serving Portuguese, Mexican, Greek, Cambodian, Thai and Japanese fare. Lowell features a statue of Buddha, a plaque honoring Nelson Mandela and a big sign in the high school that welcomes visitors in multiple languages. Colorful flags of various nationalities hang in the windows of homes here, and ethnic festivals are common. Arabic is regularly heard in shops.

For a city with such a heavy refugee…

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