NH's Immigration Story

Documentary: New Hampshire's Immigration Story

May 26, 2012

NHPR presents a one-hour special that takes a look at immigration in New Hampshire.  This program is the culmination of NHPR’s year-long editorial initiative that has explored immigration in New Hampshire from a variety of different perspectives, from legal and legislative issues to real-world experience from a refugee family adjusting to their new life in the U.S.  This program will give us a glimpse into New Hampshire’s immigrant history with stories of our past that will provide context and depth for the issues and stories that are changing the face of New Hampshire today. 

Teaching Refugee Students: Challenges and Rewards

May 25, 2012

As part of our year-long series on New Hampshire's Immigration Story, we've looked at what it's like for a refugee to arrive in New Hampshire, speaking a different language, and having to learn new customs.

For young refugees who enroll in New Hampshire schools, the challenges can be even greater - and the same goes for teachers working with them.

 World War One was great for New Hampshire’s immigrant workforce, the mills were booming and jobs were plentiful.  But as thousands of American returned home from war, there was a growing distrust of the immigrant in general and of Russians in particular.

unemployment is high In 1919, there was something like 3600 strikes in America. So we’re looking for a scapegoat. 

New Hampshire Historian, Stu Wallace

New Hampshire's Immigration Story - Come to Amoskeag!

May 23, 2012
Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Weave_Room,_Amoskeag_Manufacturing_Company.jpg">Weave room</a> / Wikimedia Commons

By the early 1900's, the Amoskeag mill was earning its reputation as the textile capital of the world. There may have been other cities that produced more cloth, but none had a mill that compared to Manchester’s.

No other single textile factory in the world had 17,000 workers, and it had around 30 buildings at one time and it was turning out cloth 50 miles per hour.

Robert Perrault is a Manchester based historian and author of the book "Vivre la Difference: Franco-American Life and Culture in Manchester, New Hampshire”

Todd Bookman/NHPR

As a farmer in Bhutan, Laxmi Narayan Mishre provided food and stability for his family.

But when ethnic tensions flared in the small Himalayan country, his land was seized.

With his wife and ten children, Mishre would spend the next two decades living in a cramped refugee camp in neighboring Nepal. Rumors swirled about a possible resettlement to America, and what life would be like here.

(Robert Perreault talking to his granddaughter)

As first generation French Canadian mill workers turned to second and third generation, Franco Americans outnumbered all immigrant groups in New Hampshire. And their presence is felt today.  Even though it was Robert Perreault’s grandfather that emigrated from French Canada, he still carry’s on many of his culture’s traditions. He speaks fluent French and so does his son. Now, they’re passing that tradition to his granddaughter.

(Sound of playing)

Irish men and women started trickling over to New Hampshire in the 1820 and 30s, and by the 1840s, they become the Granite State’s first major population of immigrantsBy 1850 there was over thirteen hundred Irish in Manchester alone and by 1860 that number triples. More than one quarter of the city’s residents are now foreign born and of that, the Irish made up seventy three percent of them.  But as New Hampshire’s first major immigrant group settled, the first major anti-immigrant feelings started brewing in our state as well.

Who is American?

May 15, 2012

May 24, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.   Please join Laura Knoy and guest Max Latona for a special live audience event as a part of the series "NH's Immigration Story".  They will be discussing the next question in the Socrates Exchange series:

Who is American?

Photo Credit: Mary-Catherine Jones

This past Saturday, about 200 people came together for the Immigrant Integration in New Hampshire Conference. The intent of the gathering was to highlight the positive benefits immigrants have on New Hampshire’s business and communities. It was also to share ideas on what works well for integrating new comers to the state. As part of NHPR’s ongoing series New Hampshire’s Immigration Story, I spoke with Kelly Laflamme, the Program Director of the Endowment for Health, and an organizer of the event. She said the conference brought together a diverse set of people and agencies.

Photos: Mary-Catherine Jones, you can view her work here.

About 200 people attended New Hampshire's first Immigrant Integration Conference held at Saint Anselm College in Manchester on Saturday April 14. The conference's goal was to highlight the positive benefits immigrants have on New Hampshire’s business and communities. It was also to share ideas on what works well for integrating new comers to the state.  Below are a selection of photos from the conference. The full set will appear on NHPR's flickr channel. 

Photos: Mary-Catherine Jones, you can view her work here.

How Refugees Fuel One New Hampshire Business

Apr 13, 2012

D. S. Cole Growers in Loudon, New Hampshire bills itself as a ‘wholesale greenhouse facility’. That means, they grow a lot of the potted plants that are then shipped to garden centers and landscapers across New England.  Looking across the facility you see greenhouses filled up with row upon rows of annuals, while flower baskets hang in long lines above your head


pobrecito33 / Flickr/Creative Commons

As part of our yearlong look at immigration in New Hampshire, we’re zeroing in on the economics of immigration in the Granite State. The impacts of filling the employment needs of the state economy with immigrants, is now-- and has long been-- a topic for dispute. New Hampshire has a rich history of immigration and the immigrants of the nineteenth century faced many challenges. Now in the twenty-first century, New Hampshire’s economy is very different from the days of industrialization but the debate over immigrants and refugees hasn’t gone away. 


We talk with author and lawyer Richard Herman, who says immigrants are a resource for innovation and global competitiveness. He says they're behind some of our most successful companies like Google and eBay and we need to find ways, according to Herman, to encourage more entrepreneurship like this through changing laws and dousing the often inflammatory debate over immigration.  


We continue our series on New Hampshire’s Immigration Story, with a look at the economics of immigration. We’re offering several perspectives throughout the week. Today we start with Mark Krikorian, who argues that immigration in America, while it helped grow and shape our nation at the turn of the last century, has a largely negative impact on the 21st century economy. 


Sam Evans-Brown


A bill that would allow communities to ask for a one-year moratorium on refugee resettlement has made it to a Senate Committee, but critics of the bill are piling up.

How the Darjees Pay the Bills

Mar 13, 2012

It’s a Friday night at the Darjee home. After a long work week, Ram, his wife Saraswarti, their daughter Angel and Ram’s mother are preparing for a fun evening with relatives.

(sound up)

Sitting with the Darjees, it’s hard to imagine that just 9 months ago they were living in squalor in a refugee camp in Nepal.  Their apartment now has comfortable furnishings, colorful decorations lining the walls, a computer and lots of cooking equipment to prepare a nice meal.

(sound of cooking and talking )

Flikr Creative Commons / jurvetson

You’ve heard of “Brain Drain,” but how about “Brain Waste”?

Flikr Creative Commons / IRIN Photos


Every year New Hampshire takes in hundreds of refugees from all around the world.

They have fled wars, persecution, and even torture in their home countries, and some bear scars – both inside and out. After the trauma they have endured some refugees arrive with undiagnosed mental illness, but identifying and treating these patients is no easy task.

Photo by Mockstar via Flickr Creative Commons

In this latest podcast from the series Feet in Two WorldsLa Opinion's Pilar Marrero and freelance journalist Valeria Fernandez talk about the mood and opinions of Latino immigrants on the eve of the New Hampshire Primary. 

This year’s Republican Presidential candidates have been clear about where they stand on many issues, but when it comes to immigration, its a little more murky.  Several candidates are trying to “thread the needle” on this one: sounding tough, to please the base, but not so tough, that they “turn off” voters in the general election, especially Latino voters.  Today on we bring you a special Thursday version of our Issue Tuesdays series as we look at the Republican Presidential candidates and compare their platforms on the immigration. 


New Hampshire’s Immigration Story includes the stories of many refugees, people who come to the United States because they can't stay in their native countries, due to violence or famine.

Many of those refugees are resettled in Manchester, but the city’s mayor, Ted Gatsas, says that needs to change. He wants a moratorium on new placements to avoid straining city services.

African Cuisine in the Upper Valley

Nov 17, 2011
(<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/linusekenstam/4051974981/sizes/l/in/photostream/" target="_blank">Jan Ekenstam</a> via Flickr Creative Commons)

Former Word of Mouth intern Stephanie Reighart visited an unexpected restaurant catering to the Upper Valley called Tastes of Africa.

Deanna Couture

Between 2000 and 2009 New Hampshire’s Latino population grew by 79 percent.

These changes have created new challenges for some New Hampshire schools.

SFX: announcements, and hall noises

Walking through the halls of Nashua South High school, it’s clear where everyone stands. Literally.

Students Talking: This is the Spanish corner, yeah basically yeah this is the Spanish corner, like Dominican, Puerto Rican, right there is the Mexican corner, for real. (Spanish chat fades away, hall SFX continues)

Want to Come to the US? Invest in a Business

Nov 15, 2011
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/partiallyblind/1164043991/in/photostream/" target="blank">partiallyblind</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

H-1B visas help employers find skilled workers they can’t find in the US workforce.

Something else that’s hard to come by these days for some businesses is credit.

Turns out there’s a visa program for that too. Foreigners can apply for an EB-5 visa, as long as they agree to invest a half million dollars or more in capital investment project for an American company.

Word of Mouth for November 15th, 2011

Nov 15, 2011
Photo by Evan Hahn, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Today, a sperm donor discovers decisions can have unintended consequences.  Plus, a double dose of awesome internet viral videos and worthy time-wasters.  Also, a family who must divide in order to stay together through mental illness.  And a church works to provide Sudanese refugees with computer literacy skills.  Lastly, the future is now for prosthetics: a look at bionic appendages.

More RAM for Refugees

Nov 15, 2011
Photo by Moe M, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Pastor Joel Kruggel of the Bethany Covenant Church in Bedford talks about his congregation's work providing Sudanese refugees with their own place of worship, as well as computer literacy classes and computers. 



To donate, contact The Bethany Covenant Church

More about the Sudanese Evangelical Covenant Church in Manchester

Courtesy Photo, MCC

With today’s unemployment levels, it’s hard to imagine that New Hampshire companies are still hiring guest workers from abroad.

NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reports that even in a flooded labor market, skilled immigrants continue to plug a gaping hole in the New Hampshire economy.

Universal Software is an IT consulting firm with branches all around the world.

SFX: Office Ambiance

Its Nashua offices are quiet, with plenty of empty cubicles waiting to be filled.

Healthcare delivery is complicated enough without language barriers, financial difficulties and cultural misunderstandings. Being a newcomer in a strange country presents many new challenges but healthcare is one of the most difficult to overcome. We take a look at the myriad obstacles the foreign born population face, and what some local healthcare providers are doing to help overcome them.


Manchester Community College has received a grant of nearly 5 million dollars for a worker training program.

As NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown reports the funds come from an unexpected source.

When American companies can’t find the American workers with the skills they need, they can bring in guest workers on a temporary visa.

Applying for that visa costs the employer a lot of money, and the Department of Labor gives that money back in the form of grants to train Americans.

Although we are a nation of immigrants, the first laws to enforce who could be an  American citizen  and who couldn't didn’t appear until the late 1880s.  Since then, new legislation like the Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1965, as well as the Refugee Act of 1980s have both strengthen and loosened these rules.  As part of our year long series "New Hampshire's Immigration Story", we'll talk today about the law, how it’s evolved and ask if it once again needs to be modified?