27th November 2011
This city has long been a resettlement site for refugees, sent here by the State Department for a chance at a better life. More than 60 languages are spoken in the school system, with Somalis, Sudanese, Iraqis and other recent arrivals mixing with children whose ancestors came from Quebec to work in the mighty textile mills along the Merrimack River.
I don’t suppose that the inhabitants were consulted about whether they wanted to turn their quiet New England town into some sort of U.N. dumping ground. Why don’t they go to New York City, which delights in that kind of thing?
In a highly unusual move, Mayor Ted Gatsas and the city’s Board of Aldermen asked the State Department in July to halt resettlements here for now. A tide of more than 2,100 refugees over the last decade — most recently, Bhutanese families coming from camps in Nepal — has been more than the city of 109,500 can assure jobs and decent housing for, Mr. Gatsas said.
Oh, as if that’s ever been a consideration.