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Proposed legislation seeks to allow law enforcement to combat border crossings

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(The Center Square) – A proposed change to New Hampshire’s “current use” law would allow state law enforcement to arrest people thought to be entering the country illegally.

The Granite State has long allowed residents to pay less in taxes for opening some of their property for recreational use, such as fishing, hiking or hunting. But a bill sponsored by Senate President Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, could permit residents who take advantage of the offer to post “no-trespassing” signs for anyone not using the land for recreational use. Those choosing to put up the signs can retain their tax benefits.

The justification for the move is what some state Republicans see as an increase in illegal border crossings from Canada, specifically through Pittsburgh, the northernmost town in the state. The new law would allow state law enforcement to arrest suspected migrants for trespassing before involving federal immigration officials.

“In New Hampshire and in 49 other states, we have seen the results of open border policies, not only human trafficking, but the import of illegal substances, in particular fentanyl, flowing across our southern and our northern border,” Bradley said during a public hearing.

Most recently, the legislation came before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

New Hampshire lawmakers are discussing the legislation at a time when illegal crossings into the country from Canada are at record highs. Over 12,000 migrants illegally crossed from Canada into New Hampshire, New York and Vermont in 2023, according to a recent report. That number represents a substantial increase from previous years. The number was around 3,500 in 2022.

Most migrants attempting to enter through Canada first travel from Mexico, the reason being that Canada does not require visas for entry.

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