CONCORD, N.H. - The ACLU-NH, American Friends Service Committee, and NH Council of Churches have called on the NH Senate to reject SB 317 in its entirety, a bill which would require local police to engage in federal immigration enforcement and in unlawful detentions of immigrants.
The bill is scheduled for a Senate floor vote Thursday. Instead of simply voting to defeat this bill, the Senate Judiciary Committee has proposed an amendment that would establish a study committee to examine the relationship between state and federal immigration laws. According to this proposed amendment (2019-0794), participants in the study committee would include individuals designated by the ACLU-NH, AFSC, and the NH Council of Churches.
Devon Chaffee, the Executive Director for the ACLU-NH, Arnie Alpert, the New Hampshire Co-Director of AFSC, and Rev. Jason Wells, the Executive Director of the NH Council of Churches, issued the following joint statement:
“We staunchly oppose Senate Bill 317, both as originally proposed and now with the amendment to turn the bill into a study commission. None of our organizations were asked ahead of time if we were willing to participate in the proposed study commission, and none have any intention of doing so. We will not sanction the legislature abdicating its responsibility to do the right thing, and we call upon the Senate to vote down SB317 in its entirety. New Hampshire should be standing in solidarity with our immigrant friends, family, and neighbors—not targeting them or subjecting them to a study commission that they in no way sought.”
Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of ACLU of New Hampshire, said, “This bill is bad policy through and through, and cannot be rectified by this amendment. Anti-immigration laws like SB317 foster racial profiling, damage public safety, and undermine community trust in law enforcement. There is nothing to study here. The Senate needs to do the right thing and protect immigrant communities in New Hampshire by rejecting SB317 outright.
“SB 317 was based on a set of xenophobic findings and included provisions which would drag the entire public sector, plus a wide array of nonprofit agencies and private businesses, into immigration enforcement. The Senate should forthrightly reject this approach, not sidestep it with an unneeded study,” added Arnie Alpert, co-director of the American Friends Service Committee’s New Hampshire Program.
The bill is also opposed by the NH Municipal Association and the NH Association of Chiefs of Police.