A day after the shocking news of a mass murderer illegal immigrant from Brazil apprehended at a worksite in Rye, N.H., Granite State Democrats are still silent on the issue of sanctuary cities. Now another GOP candidate is speaking out in favor of enforcing federal immigration law.
On Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the arrest of Antonio Jose De Abreu Vidal Filho, “a former Brazilian military police officer convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to more than 200 years in prison for his part in a 2015 Brazilian massacre.”
The Daily Mail described Vidal as “one of the world’s most wanted illegal immigrants.”
ICE didn’t reveal how Vidal, who was living in Merrimack, entered the U.S., just that he faces a hearing before an immigration judge.
The debate over immigration enforcement has been part of New Hampshire politics for years. In 2017, mayoral candidate Joyce Craig evaded giving a direct answer on whether she supported sanctuary city policies, instead simply saying, “I would not suggest Manchester become a sanctuary city. It would put federal funds at risk.”
After taking office, however, Craig became an outspoken supporter of sanctuary city policies. Earlier this year, she fought against legislation that would have banned sanctuary cities in New Hampshire. The bill passed the state Senate but died in the House.
In the race to replace Craig, who is running for governor, Republican Jay Ruais came down solidly on the side of law enforcement Thursday in response to Vidal’s arrest.
“This shocking and tragic story highlights the need to ensure Manchester is working with our federal partners to make certain our immigration laws are being enforced,” Ruais said.
“We have a rich and diverse community here in Manchester, and that should be celebrated. What we can’t tolerate is criminal activity. No city should choose which laws it wishes to enforce or limit its cooperation with the federal government to allow for a breakdown in the rule of law. The reality is that politicians in D.C. have failed to fix our broken immigration system because they’d rather score political points than solve a problem, and we face the downstream consequences for their inaction.”
Craig, who faces Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, still refused to answer questions about her support for sanctuary cities on Thursday. Warmington was also silent, along with the state’s entire Democratic federal delegation.
Supporting sanctuary cities isn’t the only Massachusetts policy Craig has picked up. The Bay State recently passed legislation giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, and the Manchester mayor also supports the idea.
Craig recently told a roundtable hosted by the New Hampshire Brazilian Council she supported driver’s licenses for the undocumented because “businesses need a workforce, and individuals need to be able to get to those jobs.” The council estimates there are 10,000 illegal immigrants in the Granite State today.
Democrats continue standing by their anti-immigration enforcement policies. State Rep. Rosemarie Rung (D-Merrimack) dismissed the immigration debate as a “fake N.H. issue” invented by Republicans.
State GOP chairman Chris Ager told NHJournal that is another reason New Hampshire needs Republican leadership.
“The lack of strong border control makes Americans less safe. The Democrats’ open border and sanctuary policies are ridiculous and must be vigorously opposed,” Ager said. “And the New Hampshire Republican Party will always be there to oppose them.”