More than a hundred people rallied outside Dover City Hall Wednesday night to protest family separations in immigration cases.
Speakers with the ACLU of New Hampshire and local faith-based groups denounced the Trump administration's “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. While many of the remarks centered around the national conversation on immigration, several speakers called out recent Border Patrol checkpoints in the White Mountains as leading to family separations.
Sandra Pontoh is a local pastor and longtime advocate for Dover’s Indonesian community, some of whom are currently under threat of deportation.
“My friends, they have paperwork, but now they cannot go anywhere,” Pontoh said. “Because they feel afraid, they feel worried that officers will stop them, that they will detain them.”
Lisa Demaine is Campus Organizing Director with NextGen New Hampshire, a political activist group with the goal of encouraging millennials to vote. She had harsh words for recent immigration enforcement on I-93 in the White Mountains.
“It’s just not correct,” Demaine said. “And we don’t want people to feel frightened just to travel in the state they’re living in.”
Several longtime Dover residents said it was the largest showing they’d seen at City Hall in recent years.
“What we are seeing is a lot of energy being galvanized by people realizing that their values are being infringed upon across the country,” said Dylan Carney, an action coordinator with New Hampshire Youth Movement. “And it’s happening here in our checkpoints in our state, so that’s really driving it home.”
After the rally, several Dover residents spoke in favor of a symbolic resolution to cease family separations, which cleared the city council Wednesday night.