NH's Immigration Story | New Hampshire Public Radio

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

Seacoast Family Food Pantry of New Hampshire

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for immigrants and refugees in New Hampshire seeking federal food assistance.

Non-English speakers are supposed to have assistance in their native language when applying for those services under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. But state immigration advocates say those services aren't as accessible remotely and has stood in the way of some seeking food stamps or other benefits.

Josh Rogers / NHPR

Hoy, miércoles 8 de julio, te contamos: 

El gobernador Chris Sununu mantiene la misma postura sobre eventos grandes a vísperas de la próxima manifestación del presidente Trump este fin de semana en Portsmouth. El evento no se prohibirá y el gobernardor incentiva usar cubrebocas y aconseja que no asistan personas mayores a 65. 

Victoria Valente of Derry

As part of NHPR's series on trauma in the time of COVID-19, "Lifelines," The Exchange focuses on New Hampshire's refugees. Refugees who resettle to New Hampshire may experience trauma before, during, and after resettlement, and as they build new lives in the Granite State, we look at how the pandemic fits into this process of establishing stability, well-being, and community in a new place. 

Click here to find more of "Lifelines: Addressing Trauma in the Time of COVID-19."

Air date: Thursday, May 7, 2020

Peter Biello/NHPR

In the basement of St. Anne - St. Augustin church in Manchester, class is in session. About two dozen people - mostly immigrants to New Hampshire - gather around tables to learn English as a second language.

Twenty-eight year old Mariam Soulama came to the United States from Burkina Faso about five years ago speaking French, and not knowing much about life in the U.S.

“I learn everything here,” she says. “Father also help us to learn and have everything here to write, to read. Yeah, I like that.”

Casey McDermott / NHPR

At first, the scene at the Manchester field office for the Bernie Sanders campaign looked pretty typical: Volunteers milled around after a presentation from campaign higher-ups, fielding invitations to sign up for canvassing shifts from campaign staffers armed with clipboards.

But in one corner of the room, a smaller group huddled together, listening intently to field organizer Susmik Lama, who was delivering a parallel set of instructions for the final weeks of the campaign — in Nepali.

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.

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