Protesters Against N.H. Border Patrol Checkpoints Present Petition to Sununu
On Thursday, protesters delivered a petition to Governor Chris Sununu’s office they say is signed by more than 3,600 people. They're asking for the governor to call for an end to Border Patrol checkpoints on Interstate 93.
About two dozen people showed up to rally against the stops. Organizing groups included NextGen New Hampshire, the United Valley Interfaith Project, and the Granite State Organizing Project. According to Customs and Border Protection, the checkpoints have lead to the arrest of 22 people without legal immigration status over the summer.
Protester Anne Grossi says the temporary checkpoints have touched her family directly. Her daughter-in-law is Thai and wanted to have several of her Thai friends visit her in New Hampshire over the 4th of July holiday.
"The short of it was they all decided not to come out of New York,” Grossi said. “They were just too terrified to get on the roads and just afraid they might be stopped, even though they had visas."
Grossi says she's written a letter to Sununu stressing what she believes is an impact the stops are having on the state's tourism industry.
"They basically make New Hampshire a very un-welcoming state,” said Asma Elhuni, an organizer with the United Valley Interfaith Project. “Tourists are afraid to come by and it divides us as a state."
Sarah Jane Knoy with the Granite State Organizing Project, a statewide faith-based organization, said a big concern for her group has been what she sees as targeting of immigrants.
“We’ve heard so many stories from people who’ve been stopped at these checkpoints and even if they’re citizens and have other documents that allow them to be here legally, they’re still terribly, terribly frightened and intimidated,” Knoy said.
Sununu has suggested that the checkpoints have been effective in apprehending drug traffickers and that they are part of the federal government doing its job.