Prohibiting Sanctuary Cities Fails to Pass the House

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Rep. Marjorie Smith, D-Durham, encourages her House colleagues Thursday to vote down House Bill 1292, prohibiting sanctuary communities.


CONCORD — Senate Democrats implored their colleagues to vote down what they called an “anti-sanctuary cities” bill, and their counterparts in the House did just that.
The compromise on House Bill 1292 had been hammered out in a committee of conference and Senate Republicans, as did most House Republicans, backed the plan, saying the state does not want to be an attractive target for illegal immigrants.

While the Senate passed the bill on a partisan 14-10, vote, the House killed the proposed compromise on a 192-165 vote to table the bill on the last day to pass legislation, effectively killing it.

In the House, Rep. Marjorie Smith, D-Durham, urged her colleagues to vote the bill down saying the House had already killed its provisions earlier this session.

She said law enforcement had expressed concerns the bill would require local police to do the work of the federal government without any funds, training or compliance.

Smith said counties oppose the bill because it puts their correctional facilities in vulnerable positions and open to litigation as they are only able to hold prisoners on state charges, not federal ones.

And she said local police will be asked to detain people on immigration retainers which lack due process, do not have warrants or oversight. “Hundreds have been held in error,” Smith said.

In the Senate, Democrats urged their Republican colleagues to have a little love toward their fellow man.

“Let’s promote togetherness. Let’s promote a little bit of love instead of hate,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester.

But Sen. William Gannon, R-Sandown said the bill does not target anyone.

“We welcome people who come here lawfully,” Gannon said. He explained what this would do is if there is a detainer notice from federal immigration officials and someone is under arrest it would allow for local officials to notify federal authorities.

Senate Majority Leader Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, said this is an issue we are just going to have to disagree about. She said she was talking about all of the illegal immigrants who have been allowed to enter this country under the current administration.

They don’t know where half of these people are, she said.

“We need to get a handle on this, Mr. President,” Carson said. “We do not want to create a situation where we are going to be receiving a flood of illegal immigrants.”

Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham, said the Biden Administration has done all the hard work to get to a policy, but it was “hijacked by a candidate,” referring to former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

State Sen. Becky Whitley, D-Hopkinton, said she could not allow “fear-based rhetoric to stand….they will only promote further suspicion,” and said the bill would target the immigrant community.

Sen. Daryl Abbas, R-Salem, supported the committee report. This bill, he said, has no impact on status for legal immigrants.

The bill allows for law enforcement to work with federal immigration agents to remove individuals who have broken New Hampshire law. Contrary to that, three municipalities – Lebanon, Hanover and Harrisville – have “welcoming” policies for immigrants.

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