NH's Immigration Story

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 Trust

Matt York / AP

Immigration advocates in New Hampshire are preparing for it to become more expensive to apply for citizenship and legal residence.

It currently costs $640 to apply for citizenship. But a proposed rule by the federal government would bump that application fee to $1,170 starting in 2020. Other fees are set to rise as well, though some will go down. [Go to Table 19 on this PDF to see the proposed fee changes, or view them in the slideshow above.]

Bruno Soares is an immigration advocate in Nashua. He says the changes could put citizenship out of reach for some legal residents.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Manchester's Board of Aldermen has given approval for the federal government to support refugee resettlement in the city.

President Trump issued an order earlier this fall requiring states and local municipalities to opt in by before federal funds go to support refugee resettlement agencies there. Governor Chris Sununu gave state-level consent last month. Municipalities have until December 20th to opt in.

The board of alderman in Manchester voted on Tuesday to do just that.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

Two groups in Manchester are launching a project to expand housing for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

The initiative comes as the city struggles with an increase in homelessness, lack of affordable housing, and a spike in domestic violence and homicides by intimate partners.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Hundreds of people protested outside a federal immigration detention center in New Hampshire this weekend, after spending a week marching to the facility from across New England in a show of solidarity with migrants at the southern border.


Sara Plourde

The number of refugees being resettled in New Hampshire has dropped dramatically under the Trump administration.

There were 162 refugees resettled in the state in Fiscal Year 2018, according to an annual report from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. That's down from 518 two years prior. 

Exploring N.H.'s Refugee Program In Manchester

Jun 2, 2019

The number of refugees being resettled in New Hampshire has dropped significantly under the Trump administration. There were 162 refugees resettled in the Granite State in FY 2018; that's compared to 518 two years prior. We'll explore what that means, and also talk with former refugees living in New Hampshire's largest city about their experiences. We'll also look at the city's school system, and how it works with refugee families arriving in the city.

GUESTS:

Robert Garrova

The ACLU started out defending conscientious objectors during World War I. It would go on to be involved in many landmark cases. That includes battling the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and fighting segregation in Brown v. Board of Education.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

An Indonesian woman detained in a deportation case since last summer is asking a federal judge for her release.

Etty Tham is a resident of Portsmouth and has two grandchildren who are U.S. citizens.

Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

With the partial government shutdown now stretching for 18 days, some courts that handle immigration cases in the northeast have slowed operations.

 

Manchester-based immigration attorney Ron Abramson says about a quarter of his cases are directly affected by the shutdown.

 

Non-detained clients, specifically, are seeing their cases delayed.

 

Annie Ropeik photos

New Hampshire Public Radio covered hundreds of stories in 2018. Some features captured how Granite Staters live and work. The opioid addiction crisis continued to make headlines - and claim lives. And political currents ran strong.

Police in Manchester, Pelham, Nashua, and Concord are joining forces on Saturday to host a "Youth Forum for New Americans."

The event is the first time the police have organized this kind of event for young people, specifically targetting immigrants and refugees.

John Marasco is an Administrative Major with the New Hampshire State Police. He says the afternoon is meant to build relationships between the police and new Americans, particularly those who have had bad experiences with law enforcement in the past.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

The Temple Israel synagogue in Manchester gathered people on Sunday for a discussion on how the U.S. treats refugees and immigrants. The event had been planned for over a year, but it took on new meaning in light of the massacre last weekend at a Pittsburgh synagogue.


Sarah Gibson for NHPR

A synagogue in Manchester is hosting an event this Sunday to discuss how the U.S. treats refugees.

The gathering, titled "Understanding the History of and Morality of U.S. Refugee Policy," will be held at Temple Israel and will feature an expert on refugee policy, a civil rights lawyer, and a Congolese immigrant who now lives in Manchester.  

Courtesy of USCIS

Forty New Hampshire residents became official U.S. citizens on Thursday.

They took the oath of allegiance at a naturalization ceremony in Manchester organized by the U.S Citizen and Immigration Services.

The new citizens came originally from 24 different countries, from Somalia to Nepal to Canada.

They now live in 18 different towns across New Hampshire.

Sarah Gibson for NHPR

 

A live storytelling event featuring New Hampshire refugees is coming to Manchester’s Palace Theater this Sunday.

The event, called “Suitcase Stories,” is organized by the International Institute of New England, which resettles refugees in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Seven people from Manchester - mostly resettled refugees - will get on stage and tell their stories.

U.S. ICE

The ACLU of New Hampshire filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the Exeter Police Department.

The suit alleges that officers arrested a man based on his suspected immigration status.  

Bashar Awawdeh is a Jordanian immigrant who married an American woman earlier this year. The case claims that Awawdeh, who speaks English and Arabic, helped officers translate statements of a convenience store co-worker who was suspected of simple assault.

New Hampshire agencies that settle refugees say they're concerned about the lower number of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. in 2019.

For fiscal year 2018, the cap was set at 45,000 refugees. For next fiscal year, that’s dropped to 30,000 refugees.

New census data released today show that New Hampshire continues to gain population from domestic migration, or people moving from other states to New Hampshire. New Hampshire is also gaining immigrants from other countries. All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with Ken Johnson, Senior Demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.

Taylor Quimby

About a mile from downtown North Conway is a house. A sign out front says, “Residents Only.” An old silver camping trailer sits off to one side, half buried by tall grass and weeds. A half-dozen bikes are parked in the driveway.

Inside, it’s dark and smells strongly of mildew.

Fernando, who is just about to turn 21, is leaning forward, his elbows on his knees. He and four others sit around a coffee table, laughing awkwardly about the radio reporter who knocked on their door just a few minutes ago.

U.S. ICE

  Dozens of Christian Indonesians challenging deportation orders issued last year have reached a milestone in their legal battle.

 

Yesterday, 44 of a total 51 individuals named in a class action suit from last year received notice that the U.S. Department of Justice would grant motions to reopen their asylum cases.

Bryan Pocius / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been running checkpoints in New Hampshire more frequently under the Trump administration, setting up on Interstate 93 near the small towns of Woodstock and Lincoln.

The stated goal of these stops is enforcing immigration law, and to that end, they have been fairly successful. Agents have arrested more than 50 people over the past two years who they determined to be in the country illegally. 

But those in support of the stops are often quick to turn attention to a topic other than immigration: drugs and the state’s opioid crisis.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

A group of about 40 began their journey in the rain in front of Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Manchester. They'll end up at the Strafford County jail in Dover.

 

Organizers from several faith-based groups have protested and led prayers outside the Norris Cotton Federal Building for about a year now. They say this action represents a bigger step towards bringing attention to immigration policy in the U.S.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

On Thursday, protesters delivered a petition to Governor Chris Sununu’s office they say is signed by more than 3,600 people. They're asking for the governor to call for an end to Border Patrol checkpoints on Interstate 93.

 

In the past few years the American Civil Liberties Union has been at the forefront in the fight to protect the rights of immigrant detainees.

Now the ACLU is expanding its Immigrants' Rights Project in New Hampshire, which the organization says is dedicated to expanding and enforcing the civil liberties and civil rights of immigrants and to combatting public and private discrimination against them. For this effort, the New Hampshire ACLU has hired its first immigration legal fellow.

SangYeob Kim spoke with NHPR's Peter Biello about his new position.

  Catholic Charities New Hampshire will receive more than $350,000 in grant funding to protect immigrant victims of crime.

 

The money comes from the federal Victims of Crime Act and was allocated through the New Hampshire Department of Justice.

 

Cathy Chesley is director of immigration legal services for Catholic Charities. She said the money will allow her organization to continue to support immigrant families who may fear deportation and not seek out help.

 

Via Wikimedia Commons

  

Thursday was the court-ordered deadline for border authorities to reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. A Keene woman whose sister-in-law and nephew were separated says they've now been reunited, but the reunification comes without answers to key questions.

Why were they cleared for reunification while others still wait in detention centers? Why were they not deported back to Honduras? And how long can they stay? 

 

While the Trump administration fortifies the southern border, there's growing concern over the number of foreigners entering the country illegally across the porous northern border with Canada.

People crossing the border between Vermont and Quebec have paid smugglers up to $4,000, usually payable when the immigrants reach their U.S. destination, according to officials and court documents.

While the number of arrests is tiny compared with the southern border, the human smuggling is just as sophisticated.

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