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Justice

The Cities Refugees Saved

In the cities where the most refugees per capita were settled since 2005, the newcomers helped stem or reverse population loss.
In Utica, New York, a large Bosnian refugee community has helped reinvigorate the area, arresting the city's population slide and opening businesses like Europa Restaurant, one of the oldest Bosnian-owned businesses in the area.
In Utica, New York, a large Bosnian refugee community has helped reinvigorate the area, arresting the city's population slide and opening businesses like Europa Restaurant, one of the oldest Bosnian-owned businesses in the area.Hans Pennink/AP

Mahira Patkovich was eight years old in 1997 when her family left Bosnia. After a long and complicated war, Muslim families like hers had found themselves without jobs, food, and any semblance of safety. So they sought refuge in America.

The first year in their new home in Utica, New York, Patkovich felt uprooted—torn from her childhood and everything she knew, and thrust into an alien environment. She knew no one and didn’t speak English. But as time went by, she began to acclimate.