Media Contact

Ari Schechter,

April 4, 2023

Governor Sununu has proposed $1.4 million in the state budget to expand policing at the border, but has no data showing any increase in NH crossings

CONCORD, N.H. - The ACLU of New Hampshire in March filed right-to-know requests with Governor Sununu’s Office and the N.H. Department of Safety and found that neither office could provide any data to support their claims of increased unauthorized border crossings along New Hampshire’s northern border. The documents from both offices stated that they had no responsive documents on New Hampshire-specific data quantifying apprehensions or unauthorized crossings at the New Hampshire-Canada border. 

"The Governor’s office and Department of Safety have been unable to show any evidence of any unauthorized crossings in New Hampshire, and yet are still using fear-based rhetoric to justify a massive expansion of police power and surveillance,” said Frank Knaack, Policy Director at the ACLU of New Hampshire. “This lack of data presents serious concerns about the accuracy of their claims being made in public, to the media, and to congress. Worse, the policies they propose have been shown in study after study to have negative impacts on public safety. We urge the House to oppose this attempt to divert $1.4 million away from the pressing needs in our communities, like housing and mental health and substance use services.”

The only data that is publicly available is for the entire “Swanton Sector,” a 295-mile section of the border including New Hampshire, Vermont, and parts of New York. New Hampshire’s border constitutes 58 of those 295 miles. Despite an alleged increase in unauthorized crossings in the Swanton Sector, the state has been unable to provide data to show any increase in New Hampshire, and according to a WMUR article from March 2023, there were zero “encounters” recorded in New Hampshire between October 2022 and January 2023. 

In the proposed state budget, Governor Sununu has asked for $1.4 million in response, he and state officials say, to an increase in unauthorized border crossings–data which the state has been unable to provide for the New Hampshire-Canada border. The funding is part of a broader effort to deputize local, county, and state law enforcement to conduct federal border enforcement along New Hampshire’s 58 mile northern border in a 25-mile wide zone.

This news surrounding the border also comes alongside a bill making its way through the legislative process, Senate Bill 132 (SB 132), which would force local New Hampshire police to do Immigration and Customs Enforcement's bidding and necessitate that police engage in federal immigration enforcement, including aiding in the detention of individuals who the federal government is looking to detain. Immigration detainers are not signed by a judge, do not go through due process, and are not related to criminal activity.