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A N.H. bill intends to make it illegal not to report undocumented immigrants to ICE

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Wikimedia Commons

With this law, undocumented people in New Hampshire could be put in deportation proceedings.

Under a new bill proposed by Republican lawmakers, it would be illegal for state or local governments not to adopt or enforce federal immigration laws.

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Immigration advocates say the vagueness with which the bill, H.B.1266, is written could destroy years of work pushing for “sanctuary cities,” or places where municipal laws protect undocumented immigrants from deportation or prosecution.

Para leer esta historia en españolhaz clic aquí.

If H.B.1266 passed, advocates say an undocumented person could be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement by police if they were stopped for minor reasons like jaywalking or a faulty blinker on a car, with no need for a warrant.

According to some advocates, around 20 police departments in New Hampshire agree to not contact ICE when they stop an undocumented immigrant. The law could annul these agreements.

Last Friday, at the bill’spublic hearing, sponsor Rep. Tony Piemonte, Republican of Rockingham, said illegal immigration jeopardizes New Hampshire’s safety but did not accept any questions about his proposal from the committee.

Maggie Fogarty from the American Friends Service Committee says the law is influenced by anti-immigration and white supremacist groups that operate in New England. She said if enacted, the bill would trigger the risk of increased racial and ethnic profiling by police and the public.

“It doesn't take a lot of imagination to know what kind of data is used to perceive someone to be an immigrant. People of color will be targeted by this,” said Fogarty.

Shari Rendall, director of state and local engagement at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) testified in support of the bill. FAIR is designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a a hate group.

Randall said FAIR supports laws prohibiting jurisdictions from employing “dangerous policies” that provide a haven or sanctuary where undocumented people can live or work without fear of apprehension from federal immigration authorities.

Eva Castillo, director of the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, said this law could deter undocumented people from contacting the police in case of emergency, especially domestic violence victims.

Advocates are now calling on people to act against this law by submitting online testimony.

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.
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