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Our 9 month series, New Hampshire's Immigration Story explored just that... the vast history of who came to New Hampshire, when they came, why they came, the challenges they faced once they landed on Granite State soil and the contributions that they brought to our state. The Exchange, Word of Mouth, and our News Department looked at the issue of immigration from its first arrivals to the newest refugees calling New Hampshire home.We saw how immigration affects our economy, health care, education system, culture and our current system of law. We also looked at what's going on in New Hampshire today, as we uncovered the groups, societies and little known people who are making an impact all over the state.Funding for NH's Immigration Story is brought to you in part by: New Hampshire Humanities Council, Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation, The Gertrude Couch Trust0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff89e10000

NH House Passes Refugee Moratorium Bill

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The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted today to pass a bill that would allow the city of Manchester to ask for a moratorium on refugee resettlement.

The bill is a seen as a victory for Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas, who has been calling for a moratorium since last July.

Manchester Representative Phil Greazzo, a Republican, says the resettlement agency is not doing a good job helping refugees integrate, and the city’s social services are overwhelmed.

"All those problems that the resettlement agency doesn’t necessarily follow up on, the cities are responsible to follow up on and the taxpayers have to wind up footing that bill," Greazzo says.

Under the bill New Hampshire towns could ask for a one-year moratorium on new refugee resettlements, which opponents say the state doesn’t have the authority to do.

The head of the national organization in charge of resettling refugees expressed its disappointment with vote shortly afterward. 

Lavinia  Limon, the President and CEO of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), says the organization met with Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas in October and agreed to resettle only refugees who have family in there.

"You know when people flee for their lives, the most important thing for them is their family," says Limon, "and to rebuild their lives here, having family is a real asset."

She says that many of these refugees will come to New Hampshire anyway no matter where they have been resettled.

Limon says that since October, only 49 people from 24 families have been resettled in Manchester, though the agency is authorized to resettle 200 in the Queen city this year.

Limon did not weigh in on whether the state has the authority to limit refugee resettlement.

 

 

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.

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