Bangladeshi migrants worry they'll pay price for NYC subway bomb

Bangladeshi migrants worry they’ll pay price for NYC subway bomb


New York, (AP/UNB) – When an immigrant from Bangladesh set off a bomb in New York city’s subway system this week, he was the only person injured. But New York city’s vibrant Bangladeshi community is worried that it, too, may ultimately get hurt by the attack.Within hours of the blast, President Donald Trump was assailing the immigration system that had allowed the alleged bomber – and multitudes of law-abiding Bangladeshis – to enter the US.
Akayed Ullah, 27, got an entry visa in 2011 because he had an uncle who was already a US citizen. Trump said allowing foreigners to follow relatives to the US was “incompatible with national security.” He pledged to work toward a system that would give preference instead to people who had wealth or special skills.
That promised policy change struck a sour note with some Bangladeshis in the Brooklyn neighbourhood where Ullah lived.
“If Trump is going to stop immigration visas, that’s not good for our Bangladeshi people,” said Fazlul Karim, 45, a livery car driver. “Because some people are waiting for their families – citizens who apply for their wives, children who are missing their father. So if they cannot come here, it’s going to be very sad. We are afraid.”
Kamal Bhuiyan, chairman of the Bangladeshi American Advocacy Group, said it would be unfair to hold the entire community responsible for the actions of one person.
“Those who commit crimes, they do not believe in God and they don’t belong to anybody,” Bhuiyan said. “They don’t belong to Bangladeshis nor anybody else around the world. They are themselves.”
According to the US Census’ 2016 American Community Survey, there are about 90,000 Bangladeshis in New York City, out of a nationwide population of about 234,000. It is a relatively new immigration group. Two-thirds of New York’s Bangladeshis arrived in the US after 2000; 38 percent arrived in just the last seven years.
While the Bangladeshi community is not as large as other ethnic groups in the city, it has made its presence felt. Bangladeshis make up nearly a quarter of all taxi drivers, according to city statistics.
Bangladeshis also have an outsized presence in the New York Police Department’s traffic enforcement division, making up around 15 percent of the city’s traffic agents, according to a union estimate.
In a sign of the increasing numbers of Bangladeshi immigrants coming to the US, they are no longer eligible for the diversity visa lottery, which is open to countries that have seen low immigration to the United States. Bangladesh was eligible until 2013.
Ullah lived in a neighbourhood that is home to one of the city’s largest pockets of Bangladeshi migrants, but is also home to large numbers of Russians, Mexicans and Ukrainians. He recently lived in a multi-ethnic apartment building on the same floor as some Jewish families.
On the main commercial street in the neighbourhood this week, women pushing strollers on the main commercial street wore headscarves. Men gathered separately in eateries that serve low-cost meals while watching Bangladeshi television news and sports.
It wasn’t clear what prompted Ullah, who had a wife and child in Bangladesh, to turn against his adopted country.


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