Does Mayor Joyce Craig still support sanctuary city policies in New Hampshire, even as her ally Gov. Maura Healey (D-Mass.), calls up the National Guard to address the emergency created by the arrival of undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts?
That is one question the New Hampshire Republican Party plans to raise at a press conference scheduled for Friday morning.
America’s border crisis has been making headlines in New Hampshire for weeks, from reports that encounters with illegals at the northern border have surged to the arrest of a mass murderer from Brazil captured while living illegally in Rye.
On Wednesday, Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia of the United States Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector — which includes the New Hampshire border with Canada — announced more apprehensions in the past year than in the previous decade.
“Over 6,100 apprehensions from 76 different countries in just 11 months, surpassing the last 10 years combined. Swanton Sector Agents are resolute and determined to hold the line across our 295 miles of border in northeastern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire,” Garcia said via social media.
Also this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged a Mexico national with smuggling illegal immigrants across the northern border and into New Hampshire.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Hampshire, “Reynaldo Velasco-Velasco, 36, was charged by criminal complaint with illegal reentry of a removed alien … and unlawful transportation of certain aliens.
“A group of individuals wearing backpacks was observed crossing the international border from Canada near Canaan, Vt.,” officials reported. “All four [individuals] had backpacks with them, and their pants appeared wet and dirty from their shins down. The driver was subsequently identified via biometric databases as Velasco-Velasco, a Mexican citizen who was previously removed from the United States in 2011.”
Gov. Chris Sununu and his fellow Republicans have been sounding the alarm for weeks. Sununu recently sent a letter to the state’s all-Democrat federal delegation asking for their help getting the Biden administration to restore millions of dollars they cut from border security funding previously provided to New Hampshire.
All four members declined to answer questions about the funding cut or whether they support its restoration.
Also silent is Craig, a longtime supporter of sanctuary city policies who opposes using deportations to enforce U.S. immigration law. Craig, a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, declined to respond to multiple requests for comment about immigration policy.
Craig has touted the high-profile endorsement she received from Gov. Healey, another supporter of sanctuary community policies who has long opposed using state and local police to help enforce immigration law. With the surge of undocumented migrants over the past two years — a record seven million border “encounters” since President Biden took office — Healey recently declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts.
Healey, known for her progressive politics, has taken the drastic step of calling up the National Guard to address the impact migrants are having on her state. And she has slammed the Biden administration over its handling of the border crisis.
Granite State Democrats have dismissed concerns about illegal immigration and the porous border as a “fake issue” invented by New Hampshire Republicans. New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley called GOP concerns about immigration enforcement “thinly veiled racism.”
They also opposed Sununu’s decision to spend $1.4 million in state money to help back up federal efforts at the northern border.
Republicans plan to make the border security issue part of the 2024 campaign.
“It is clear that we have a serious problem unfolding along our northern border – and the Biden administration is sitting on their hands while dangerous criminals and drugs flow into our state,” said GOP candidate for governor Kelly Ayotte. “Once again, I stand with Gov. Sununu in his calls for further funding for border security, but unfortunately, the Biden administration has shown no interest in securing our borders.”
Former state Sen. Chuck Morse, who’s also seeking the GOP nomination for governor, visited the U.S.-Mexico border during his unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign last year.
“New Hampshire residents shouldn’t shoulder the repercussions of President Biden’s border policies,” Morse said Thursday. “As the sole gubernatorial candidate to personally witness the border conditions last year, I can attest to the harm inflicted on communities and the threats confronted by local residents. I’m disappointed to see this same scenario reaching our Granite State.
“Unlike other candidates who support sanctuary cities and amnesty for illegal immigrants, I will always put New Hampshire families first.”
And the Republican who hopes to replace Craig in the mayor’s office, Jay Ruais, has also condemned the Democrat’s sanctuary city policies.
“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,” Ruais said.
The problematic politics of illegal immigration and border security didn’t get any better for Democrats on Thursday, when the L.A. Times reported the Biden administration is considering a new plan to stop illegal immigrants, not at the U.S. border, but as they attempt to cross the Texas state line and travel to Democrat-run enclaves like New York and Massachusetts.
“The Biden administration is considering forcing some migrant families who enter the country without authorization to remain near the border in Texas while awaiting asylum screening, effectively limiting their ability to travel within the U.S.,” the paper reported. “The Biden plan would force certain migrant families to remain in Texas — or possibly other border states.”