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New Hampshire Senate taking steps to curb flow of migrants

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(The Center Square) – The New Hampshire Senate advanced several bills to curb the flow of migrants in the state, including a move to ban so-called “sanctuary cities.”

The bill, which would prohibit New Hampshire towns and cities from declaring themselves as sanctuaries for asylum seekers, was passed by the Senate on a party-line vote on March 7. “If we need to vet the mostly good immigrants from foreign countries from the not-so-good, that’s what we need to do,” said Sen. Bill Gannon, R-Sandown, as reported by WMUR9.

The term “sanctuary city” refers to a resolution to protect asylum seekers from law enforcement and deportation. No New Hampshire municipalities have declared themselves as a “sanctuary” for migrants, although Portsmouth and Durham considered the move in 2017.

The idea of threatening measures against municipalities that adopt such a policy has garnered previous support in the state Legislature in both chambers. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2023, but it was not recommended after evaluation by a House committee and not adopted after a House vote. The House passed a bill that accomplished the same thing in 2022 but did not become law.

The bill passed by the Senate last week is not the only measure the body is taking in its attempt to crack down on asylum seekers. In another party-line vote, the Senate also passed a bill allowing property owners to put up “No-trespassing” signs on land they allow to be recreationally used without losing their tax breaks. The move would allow local law enforcement to arrest people suspected of being migrants, particularly at New Hampshire’s northern border.

“We need to do something to protect our borders,” Sen. Kevin Avard, R-Nashua, said. “This is a small attempt.”

The Center Square reported on the legislation last month.

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