LEBANON, N.H. (AP):- A New Hampshire bill that would require authorities to detain suspected undocumented immigrants for federal immigration authorities could destroy police reform adopted by two Upper Valley communities last year, municipal officials say.
The bill, referred to as the “Anti-Sanctuary Act” by supporters, would require local and state police to comply with federal immigration enforcement, Valley News reported.
In addition, it would bar municipalities from “adopting policies that prohibit, restrict, or discourage the enforcement of federal immigration law.”
State Rep. John Potucek, R-Derry, told the House Municipal and County Government Committee that the legislation targets “sanctuary cities” who seek to hide or shield people without legal status from deportation or prosecution.
“Let me be clear, this is not a bill about immigration. This bill is about sanctuary cities,” Potucek said.
The committee approved the bill in a 10-9 party-line vote, and it now heads to the Republican-controlled House.
Lebanon and Hanover approved policies last year to prohibit police from questioning people about their immigration status, enforcing federal immigration law or cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Lebanon City Councilor Karen Liot Hill, who chaired the group that drafted the city’s ordinance, said that the bill could undo the work of councilors and voters. She pointed out that residents voted 1,218-1,015 to approve the ordinance last March.
“The overarching theme right now in Concord is one of incredibly bad legislation that is being pushed by a Republican majority that is not being at all thoughtful about its impact on communities around the state,” said Liot Hill.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.