New Hampshire state Senate Republicans passed a ban on sanctuary city policies Thursday over the vocal objections of their Democratic colleagues, one of whom compared immigration law enforcement to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews.

The 14-10 vote highlighted stark policy differences between Granite State Republicans and Democrats on illegal immigration. SB 563, sponsored by Sen. Bill Gannon (R-Sandown), “prohibits state and local government entities from adopting sanctuary policies to prohibit or impede the enforcement of federal immigration law.” It also instructs local law enforcement officers to “use best efforts to support the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

Polls show Americans consider the current crisis at the border the most important issue facing the nation, even higher than inflation and the economy. Granite State Republicans have pushed for increased enforcement, including Gov. Chris Sununu sending members of the New Hampshire National Guard to Eagle Pass, Texas, to support that state’s efforts to stop the flow of illegal immigrants — a move opposed by Granite State Democrats.

That divide was also on display in the Senate on Thursday.

“I keep hearing the word ‘immigrant’ without making a distinction between a lawful immigrant and an unlawful immigrant,” Sen. Daryl Abbas (R-Salem) said at one point during the two-hour debate. “This will not affect someone who is a lawful immigrant.”

Democrats argued that police departments across the state opposed the legislation, and they presented a memo signed by local law enforcement officials opposing the proposal.

“It’s not just one police chief; it’s the chiefs of Manchester, Dover, Portsmouth, Nashua, Merrimack, and Hudson,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester). “They say this is not the way to go.”

D’Allesandro and other Democrats argued enforcement of the proposal would harm relations between police and immigrant communities, a point repeatedly made by the police chiefs who signed on to the opposition letter.

Republicans, however, had a memo of their own to present, one they said highlights the harm sanctuary policies can inflict on the state as a whole.

Sen. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry) referenced a memo Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey issued last August to Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas declaring a state of emergency “due to rapid and unabating increases” of illegal immigrants.

Carson pointed specifically to a portion of the memo where Healey acknowledges the influx of illegal immigrants is costing Massachusetts $45 million per month.

“Can you imagine that here in New Hampshire?” asked Carson. “I don’t know where that money is going to come from.”

“And then she goes on to say she’d declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts, one that demands a response by all levels of government. This is what we are trying to protect New Hampshire from.”

Democrats also argued that racial animosity was part of the motivation behind the legislation. Sen. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst) compared the GOP’s push for increased border security to Nazi Germany and racist Jim Crow laws.

“Would I have spoken up against the persecution of the Jews during the build-up to World War II?” Chandley asked. “Would I have defended my Japanese neighbors from internment camps, and would I have raised my voice to oppose Jim Crow laws?

“I know each of us hopes we would have done the right thing.”

Chandley later accused Republicans of “conflating immigration and fentanyl.”

“This bill is a wrongheaded approach to combating the opioid crisis. It does not improve border security, nor does it reform immigration policy. Most importantly, it does not make our communities or the people of New Hampshire safe.”

As the discussion was approaching 90 minutes, Senate President Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) called the debate “fantastic.” But he argued the Democrats’ attacks on the proposal constituted a “fundamental disconnect” and said “sanctuary policies have become a magnet” for “problem after problem.”

“It is not fearmongering to talk about these problems,” he said. “It’s reality.”

Bradley later reminded Democrats that even President Joe Biden’s administration is reversing its support for sanctuary immigration policies.

Thursday’s vote marked the latest effort by Granite State Republicans to move forward a proposal to end localized sanctuary immigration policies in New Hampshire as previous efforts have hit repeated snags. Last year, a similar bill died in the House. One of the elected officials who signed up to oppose a sanctuary cities ban was then-Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, who’s currently seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.

Craig has repeatedly refused to say whether she would sign a sanctuary city ban if elected governor, as has her opponent in the primary, Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington. They declined to respond to media requests for comment after Thursday’s vote.

In a similar party-line vote, the Senate also advanced a bill looking to close a rural land access loophole Republicans say encourages illegal entries along New Hampshire’s northern border with Canada. Illegal crossings from Canada in the Swanton Sector — which includes New Hampshire — have soared since President Joe Biden took office.

New Hampshire offers a tax break to landowners who allow individuals engaged in recreational activities to traverse onto their properties. Republicans on Thursday successfully advanced a bill that would allow landowners to report trespassers to local authorities without risking a loss of the tax break.

That legislation now heads to the House for a vote, while the bill seeking to bar sanctuary city policies in New Hampshire is on its way to the Finance Committee for further consideration.