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As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the future of Title 42, protestors challenge Hassan’s support for the policy

Around 25 people gathered outside U.S. Sen Maggie Hassan’s office in Manchester Tuesday night to share messages in favor of immigration and their concerns about her support of Title 42, a measure that imposes restrictions on asylum seekers.

The Title 42 border restrictions were set to expire Wednesday, but the U.S. Supreme Court extended them earlier this week as they decide the future of the policy.

Tuesday’s rally marked the sixth time this year that Stronger Together, a statewide coalition, gathered to protest Hassan’s position on Title 42. Grace Kindeke from the American Friends Service Committee was among those speaking out.

“It is heartbreaking because those people at the border are just looking for an opportunity,” she said.

The attendees shared a common frustration that Hassan “doesn’t count them as important unless she needs volunteers,” said Kindeke, referring to the senator’s campaign operations.

During Hassan’s recent reelection bid, her position on Title 42 created a rift in her relationships with some local immigration leaders.

“It wasn’t easy to vote for her,” Kindeke said about the recent election, “but at least we can work with her easier.”

Her mother, Christine Kindeke, who sought asylum in the U.S. from the Republic of Congo, spoke about how difficult it was to go through that process as a mother. She said the path immigrants have to go through is painful.

“This policy of blocking people off the border is against humanity,” she said.

Newly elected Rep. James Roesener of Concord also showed up to support asylum seekers. He said it is important to bring attention to immigration right now because “a lot of people see Biden in office and not Trump and think this issue is out of the picture.”

The organizers of the protest said local immigration advocates want to meet with Hassan to talk more about the issue. Hassan’s office previously told NHPR that members of her office have spoken with New Hampshire residents with different perspectives on the issue, but those protesting outside her office said they would like these community leaders to have that chance as well.

“These are her constituents,” said Louise Spencer, who hoped to see more humane measures at the border. “And yet they can’t have an open conversation.”

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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