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Bill targeting sanctuary cities passes the N.H. House

New Hampshire State House dome - NHPR
Dan Tuohy
/
NHPR
New Hampshire State House

The New Hampshire House passed House Bill 1266 on Tuesday in a 172-162 vote, advancing a proposal to make it illegal for state or local governments to restrict cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

The bill targets so-called sanctuary cities. In New Hampshire, places like Lebanon and Hanover have enacted local policies to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation or prosecution due to their status. These policies include measures like prohibiting police from asking people about immigration status or cooperating with detainers from ICE, according to reporting by the Valley News.

Proponents of the bill say local police should be allowed to contact ICE if they see a detainer request – although testimony from the ACLU indicates that such cooperation from local agencies would be in violation of people’s constitutional rights.

Opponents say the bill is vague, confusing, and unnecessary, pointing to the fair and impartial police policy that has been adopted by various departments in the state. That policy stipulates that departments will cooperate with ICE in the case of a valid warrant, which is different than a detainer, or “immigration hold”; a criminal warrant is granted with oversight from a judge after probable cause has been determined, while a detainer is issued by an ICE agent.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: info@newhampshirebulletin.com. Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

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