Hi! This is a blog post I threw together in response to the recent increase in refugee numbers by Trump’s State Department, in order to convey what it is like living in an Islamizing area. I gave a talk at a luncheon a few months ago that was basically relating my story of how my hometown has been Islamized by refugee resettlement. So it makes sense to do a blog post.
I’m from the Utica, NY area. Utica is the city nicknamed by the UN “the city that loves refugees!” Soon every American city will be a city that loves refugees! Get ready! So I would like to tell you what it is like living in an area where the major city is about 25% (or more) refugee, mainly Muslim
I was born in Utica, a “faded industrial town” along the Mohawk River/Erie Canal corridor, and lived there until I was 8-years-old when my family moved to a nearby small college town. I loved living in Utica because there were lots of families on my block, big Catholic families with lots of kids. You could yard-hop, checking out who was available for play. You could bike around the neighborhood. There were block parties in the summer. My grandmother lived up the street. Life was good.
My father and his father were born and lived in Utica, NY. My father was a judge in Utica, like his father before him. The Catholic school my father attended is now a community center for refugees. After I moved back to the Utica area as an adult I used to recite “Full fathom five” to the children as we drove by my father’s former Catholic school. (Nothing of him that doth fade,/But doth suffer a sea change/Into something rich and strange.)
When I had my first child I was living in New York City. Her father and I divorced when she was a baby, and when she was two-years-old, I beat a hasty retreat back home to Upstate NY. There I met my husband. We got married, we had babies (in that order, ahem), and we settled down outside of Utica.
When I moved back home one of the first things I noticed was that an old Methodist church was being converted into a bright shiny white new mosque. The local paper touted this as immense progress and featured a local woman who had attended the church as a child and was positively brimming with joy it was being turned into a mosque. If that is the general sentiment, then it’s odd that my county went for Trump, right? There are at least two mosques in the city now. They just built another.
Where do I start? Utica had always been “the city that loves refugees” but under Obama things accelerated. Muslim immigrants were suddenly in these local bureaucratic positions where they had power over you. This, in what is probably one of the most corrupt states in the union, where the power of the state is everything.
The social worker at my daughter’s school was a Muslim immigrant. I looked for her profile on the school website, I googled her, I could not find information on her background, resume, qualifications, or educational attainments.
When I began to homeschool my daughter the administrator to whom I had to submit paperwork was a Muslim immigrant. To homeschool in New York State you must submit detailed quarterly reports to an administrator at your local school district. I googled the administrator. He also worked at the local Board of Cooperative Educational Services, but I could not find any other information on his background, resume, qualifications, or educational attainments.
I was friends with the wife of the Orthodox priest at our church, and she told me that this administrator found some problems with her paperwork and challenged her. It turned out she was right about the issue, and he backed down. Comfy little situation, right?
Right before we moved I went to the ER. The nurse practitioner was a Muslim immigrant (Bosnia), and the doctor she worked under was a Muslim immigrant (Pakistan). I remember how during the visit I suddenly became very aware of the cross I always wear around my neck.
In 2012 on the way home from my daughter’s piano lesson, I left my children in the car, ran into the supermarket for ten minutes, and came out to find a man outside my car who informed me he had called the police. I called my husband and my parents and together we waited for the police officer who eventually arrived and arrested me. Lenore Skenazy wrote an account of the incident in the Wall Street Journal. It is pretty accurate except that it wasn’t a suburb, it was a village of less than 2,000 people.
It was a terrible thing to do, but it was not hot (we’re about two hours from the Canadian border), it was the small safe village where I grew up (I think I was the only arrest that week), and I spent half my childhood hanging out in the car with my brother while my mother did errands. My friend sent me a Salon article (I don’t read Salon) about a mom who did the same thing, and she like me was in her hometown where she grew up, and so automatically just living by the rules she grew up with. My mother never got arrested. It didn’t occur to me I would be arrested. That’s my only arrest. So far. But anyway, the point of this story is I was then investigated (and cleared which I hope should be obvious) by CPS.
The CPS worker who investigated me was Muslim.
So let me just summarize: the social worker at the school is Muslim, the administrator who ok’s homeschooling is Muslim, the CPS worker is Muslim, the nurse practitioner at the ER is Muslim, the doctor at the ER is Muslim. These are positions of authority that wield a lot of power.
Are you starting to get the picture?
The spring before we moved Utica made national news because of a federal grant to the local community college (two million dollars) for a (Muslim immigrant) professor to teach teenage (Muslim) refugees how to build drones. The grant didn’t mention explicitly that the drones would be equipped with bombs or anything, so it was all aboveboard. This was going on like down the road from us. My husband assured me he could shoot any drone out of the sky, and I’m sure he could, but curiously enough that didn’t assuage my anxiety, but only exacerbated it. The last thing I needed was my husband getting arrested on federal charges for taking down a drone.
I looked up the Muslim immigrant professor on Linked In. It was an odd career trajectory. It looked like he had been a soccer coach a few years before. It wasn’t exactly clear to me how he had landed his present job where he was getting federal money to train Muslims to build drones, but, hey, that’s the Obama era for you.
In 2015, a 26-year-old Bosnian refugee in Utica was arrested for supporting ISIS. The local paper reported that in his spare time when he wasn’t supporting ISIS, he enjoyed mixed martial arts fighting at the local gym. Local law enforcement complained they hadn’t been informed of the investigation. You know and I know that if anything happens, local law enforcement are the first responders.
I went to a couple Trump rallies and meetings in Upstate NY before we moved. When I mentioned the arrest of this ISIS supporter to a local businessman at one of the meetings, he got a very serious look and said Utica was full of ISIS and the local police were really worried. The Trump meetings were emotional. The organizer picked a donut shop whose owner was friendly to the Trump platform so we could talk. Everyone went around the table and introduced themselves. Two of the women cried. New York State is not doing well.
Don’t believe the Start-Up NY commercials. Potemkin Village.
My husband lost two jobs in three years in Upstate NY. Not by any fault of his own- he is a very skilled, dedicated, experienced, hard worker- but because his bosses went out of business. His first boss moved to North Carolina. His second boss had to close up shop, which seemed linked to a downturn in the stock market. A lot of the middle class in Upstate NY are boomer retirees, and when the stock market goes down, they get nervous and cut back on renovation and building. My husband is a carpenter.
The Upstate New York economy is one of the worst in the country. That’s why it’s a good place to resettle refugees.
After the second time my husband lost his job, I applied for food stamps for the family. When I moved back home I had tried to find a job as a lawyer, I could not. I finally found a job processing letters of credit for an investment bank. My salary was $27,000 a year. I actually got paid an extra $2,000 higher than starting salary for my translation skills. After I had my second child, most of my pay after taxes would have gone to childcare. The New York State tax system penalizes low-income people who work. So I stayed home. My parents helped us with bills.
So my husband was unemployed, I was unemployed, we have four children, we certainly qualified for food stamps, and I felt stupid and irresponsible for not applying when we qualified for them, so I applied. The local Department of Social Services does not answer their phone. You can go there and wait in line. It is a very very long line, and a very uncomfortable place to be. By tacit agreement, the white people stick together in the waiting area. The Department of Social Services rejected my application several times without reason. I knew we qualified, so it became for me this bureaucratic challenge that I had to vanquish. It took a lot of wrangling and some certified sign-for-delivery mailings which were expensive. I managed to get us a month of food stamps. It was about $50 a week, I think, for a family of six. I don’t know if that’s average or not.
Want to know why my application was rejected several times even though we qualified? Want to know why it was so difficult to get food stamps? The Department of Social Services in my area is swamped because of the refugees. 25% of the city are refugees. Virtually all of the refugees are on welfare. And when they apply for welfare, they don’t do so as an independent entity, as I did. They go through their refugee resettlement agency who deals with the Department of Social Services for them. So basically Americans get the short shrift, and refugees get taken care of. And that’s America. This is why so many Democrats voted for Trump. Americans are getting squeezed out by non-Americans at multiple levels.
What else to tell you?
New York State sued our local school district for trying to separate teenage refugees from the rest of the students. I went to a CLE where I sat next to a lawyer for the school district, and she was freaking out over this lawsuit. She was like, The state is coming after us, and we don’t have any money. My county is a Democrat county, and Trump won my county. Issues like this are why. Americans can see that they are being forced to accommodate non-Americans to their own detriment and expense.
There is TB in Utica. I’m sure there is more than reported. Obama stopped screening foreigners for TB, which America has been doing since before the days of Ellis Island, and the refugees are from places where TB is endemic. Whenever I was in a hospital- when I gave birth or when I went to the ER- I would be very aware of my surroundings.
The local Walmart is full of headscarves and burkas. I cried when I went into my first Walmart in North Carolina and all I saw were Americans.
The nice lady who asked me to give a talk a couple months ago on my hometown asked me if there were any refugees who were an “asset to the community”. I replied that they do not consider themselves part of your community, so if they are going to be an asset to any community, it is not going to be yours.
I hope I’ve presented an idea of why I’m so opposed to refugee resettlement. I couldn’t write this blog post where I’m from. I’d be scared that someone would target my house. I’d be scared of the authorities. I had to wait to get to higher ground to speak more openly.
North Carolina is like Heaven. People are so much happier here. I thank God every day we got here. I consider it a “free zone”, and I want it to stay free.
Please also check out my other blog post on Utica, NY. I wrote it after my husband and I drove into the city on a random Sunday and saw about a dozen refugees (all women, and you know there had to be men as well, who just weren’t present at the time) moving into renovated housing. This is in an area where low-income Americans, white and black, languish in subpar housing. A lot went on under the Obama Administration. And I doubt a lot of it was on the books.