inside sources print logo
Get up to date New Hampshire news in your inbox

‘Shame On You!’ Rep. Perez Takes to House Floor to Call Out Hassan, Pappas Over Border Policy

In an emotional speech from the floor of the New Hampshire House, Rep. Maria Perez accused members of the state’s federal delegation of treating voters of color like “tokens” while supporting Trump-era immigration policies.

“I will say to the congressional delegation who’s been criticizing the previous administration about going to the border and speaking negatively about immigrants — What happened to you? You tokenized us to talk negatively about the previous administration, but now you’re utilizing immigrants to win some votes. Shame on you!” Perez said.

Perez echoed complaints from the New Hampshire Democratic Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus which is critical of U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas’ right turn on immigration.


“All of us feel like we’re tokens,” said Shideko Terai, a member of the New Hampshire AAPI Caucus. “This is not okay. You can’t use us and abuse us.”

According to multiple sources, leaders in the state Democratic Party have been pressuring Black and Brown activists to remain silent as Pappas and Hassan push for Trump-era immigration policies like building more of the border wall and continued enforcement of Title 42 authority against would-be migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I feel very disgraceful to calling myself a Democrat because a lot of Democrats have been calling people [of color] onto the carpet saying just to say ‘do not go out in public, do not talk about it,'” Perez said Thursday. “Shame on you! Shame on you for trying to silence our voices.”

Terai says she received the same message from Granite State Democratic Party leaders. “I was told, ‘We have to be really careful. We need Sen. Hassan’s fundraising,’” Terai said.

Last week, the New Hampshire Democratic Party Latino Caucus resigned from the party en masse over Hassan and Pappas’s new policies. Now, Perez said, it is a non-partisan organization promoting issues important to her community.

“I had to take a hard decision for my caucus to leave the NHDP,” Perez said. “We left the executive committee of the Democratic Party because my caucus doesn’t feel welcomed by the Democratic Party. I believe our community has been tokenized, and it’s time for us to win the respect.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan in front of the Trump-era wall at the U.S.-Mexico border in April 2022.

Hassan’s reversal on immigration, from repeatedly voting against Trump’s border wall to calling for more of it to be completed, has caught the attention of national media. According to Politico, Hassan is one of a handful of embattled Senate Democrats whose prospects for re-election are in trouble and are trying to distance themselves from Biden and his policy.

“On social media, where they shy away from praise of the president and instead focus on their efforts to prod the White House to action, it’s hard to tell they’ve voted in line with Biden no less than 96 percent of the time,” Politico reported Thursday. And, they add “Democratic operatives” say Hassan is making the right move politically by supporting tougher immigration policies, “even if it’s at the expense of alienating some progressives.”

Some of those progressives at the national level are speaking out.

“Attn: Sen. Hassan. We need you in the Senate, but going after GOP anti-immigration voters and introducing a bill to keep Ukrainian and LGBTQ migrants out will lose you more voters than you gain,” tweeted Douglas Rivlin, communications director with the progressive immigration group America’s Voice.

In a later tweet, he added: “Sen. Hassan [is] defining Dems as the party in support of Stephen Miller’s approach to excluding immigrants, and refugees.”

Stephen Miller was President Donald Trump’s lead immigration policy advisor.

New Hampshire’s lead immigrant’s rights advocate, Eva Castillo, is outraged by Hassan’s pro-wall politics.

“It was a slap in the face for us Latino immigrants,” said Castillo, director of the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees. “She could have talked about anything other than the stupid wall.

“That’s not an issue for a New Hampshire incumbent senator to be running on. I’m sick and tired of people playing politics with immigration, on both sides. And it’s especially annoying when it’s the Democrats that are supposed to be friendlier to immigrants,” Castillo said.

Hassan apparently needs the help. A new UNH Survey Center poll found Hassan is in a statistical tie with her potential GOP rivals retired Gen. Don Bolduc, state Sen. Chuck Morse, and former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, despite the fact they have very little name ID.

Also problematic for Hassan: Just 35 percent of voters have a favorable view of the incumbent senator, while 51 percent view her unfavorably.


Hassan Dodges Immigration Activists During Biden Visit

Sen. Maggie Hassan was supposed to be talking up infrastructure spending during President Joe Biden’s visit Tuesday. But she spent much of her day dodging protests from Granite State progressives and members of the local Latino community. They are upset by Hassan’s reversal on immigration policy and a video she released standing in front of Trump’s border wall calling for more “physical barriers.”

Protesters gathered or posted signs at various spots along Hassan’s route in Portsmouth as she traveled with the president. “Hassan + Pappas, NH Welcomes Immigrants,” one sign read. One of the organizers is Rep. Maria Perez (D-Milford), who resigned from the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s Latino Caucus last week in protest of Hassan and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) announcing their support for Title 42. That is the emergency authorization used to turn away more than one million undocumented migrants at the border last year.

“No cages, no walls! @SenatorHassan and @ChrisPappasNH We need a real plan to increase capacity and resources to manage the needs of migrants seeking entry at the border, not a continuation of racist, misguided and inhumane policies,” Perez tweeted from the protest.


Progressives who have worked for Hassan in the past have denounced her new, more pro-enforcement policy positions on immigration.

Perez said Tuesday afternoon she has not been able to speak to Hassan about her recent call for more barriers on the border, and other right-leaning policies the senator has adopted in a tough election year.

“The response that I got from her office is that she’s too busy,” Perez said.

Hassan tried using her trip to the southern border to shoot campaign videos in which she unconvincingly promised to get tough and push for more physical barriers. Hassan repeatedly voted against funding a border wall when Donald Trump was president — the same wall she used as a prop in her video, with barbed wire hanging over her head.

Granite State immigration activists were irate. “That was the last kick in the butt for the immigrant community, and all of us as Latinos,” said Eva Castillo, executive director of the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees. Some progressives called on Hassan to apologize.

Hassan has refused. She also refused to respond to requests for comment from NHJournal.

Perez said immigrant advocates want to express their views to her in person, but Hassan is avoiding them. She plans to keep up the pressure until Hassan responds in some way.

“I’m not taking a no from her office anymore. A lot of people in the community have been so disappointed. We’re just asking for time to talk to her and she’s refusing to meet with us. She’s too busy to meet with us, but she’s not too busy to go to the border,” Perez said.

Clifton West, Jr., a founder of Black Lives Matter’s Seacoast chapter, also protested the two Democrats’ actions, urging them via Twitter to “support immigrant communities and stop hijacking COVID relief funds to support a Trump policy, Title 42. New Hampshire residents stand in solidarity with migrants’ rights to seek asylum.”

The Title 42 issue puts Hassan and Pappas at odds with Biden. Both members of Congress back legislation to block the administration’s plan to end the policy. The progressive action group Rights and Democracy is demanding the two New Hampshire lawmakers “remove their co-sponsorship from bills that would indefinitely block asylum access for immigrants at the U.S. border, as President Biden finally moves to end harmful, racist Title 42.”

Perez said members of the Latino community are also being ignored by Pappas and his team as well.

“I’m a Democrat. But with everything going on these days, I’m embarrassed to call myself a Democrat,” she said.

Is Homeland Security Sending Migrants from Texas Border to NH? Hassan Won’t Say

Senator Maggie Hassan has no comment on reports that the Department of Homeland Security — which she oversees as a member of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee — is considering a plan to send some of the migrants pouring across the southern border up to Vermont and New Hampshire.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, “more than 1.472 million aliens have been apprehended entering illegally at the Southwest border in just FY 2021.” That’s equal to the entire population of New Hampshire. U.S. Border Patrol reported “nearly 200,000 encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in July, the highest monthly total in more than two decades.”

Now, the Border Patrol is reportedly considering sending some of those migrants to the “Swanton Sector,” which includes all of Vermont, part of New York,  and Coos, Grafton and Carroll counties in New Hampshire.

“Federal immigration agencies are preparing contingency plans for a chaotic fall and winter that include looking to states thousands of miles away for assistance,” the Washington Free Beacon reports, based on a memo they’ve obtained. “DHS is husbanding resources for the ‘unconfirmed’ transfer of migrants to [the Swanton Sector] and awaiting a response from Border Patrol about the number of additional processing machines required,” they report.

“A spokeswoman for Customs and Border Protection declined to address the [Swanton Sector] relocation plans, saying the department does not comment on leaked information.”

A spokesperson for Vermont’s Gov. Phil Scott (R) told a reporter last week the administration was “unaware” of any such plans.

Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told the Vermont Daily Chronicle: “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continually evaluates possible contingency plans and adjusts its operations as circumstances dictate, but currently there are no plans to transfer migrants from the Southwest border to the Northern or Coastal borders.”

But nothing is stopping the Border Patrol from locating migrants here — certainly not Sen. Hassan.

And even if DHS doesn’t send would-be illegal immigrants to the area, some are making their way here, anyway. Just last week, Border Patrol agents “apprehended 21 people encountered in multiple events after they illegally entered the U.S. near the towns of Alburgh, Franklin, Richford & West Berkshire,” the Swanton Sector Border Patrol tweeted. “They were citizens of Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico & Canada.”

More significant, however, is the lack of information from Sen. Hassan, who will not answer questions about the border or DHS policy from NHJournal. She hasn’t made any public comment or issued a statement on the report, either.

Meanwhile, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott revealed last week the Biden administration is paying contractors not to build a wall on the southern U.S. border. “For a while, it was almost $5 million a day between DOD and DHS.” Hassan voted against funding a border wall in 2017.

In a recent NHJournal poll,  New Hampshire Republicans picked the border security issue as their top concern. At the same time, Biden is getting poor marks across the political spectrum for his handling of the border crisis. Just 25 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s immigration policy, while 67 percent disapprove, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

As for the situation at the Mexican border, just 23 percent approve, while 67 percent disapprove. Only half of Biden’s fellow Democrats approve of his handling of the border situation.

EXCLUSIVE POLL: N.H. Voters Say Border Wall Isn’t Worth Cost of Government Shutdown

The latest New Hampshire Journal poll finds that most Granite State voters believe the pain caused by the government shutdown outweighs the potential benefit of President Trump’s border wall.

When asked, “Do you believe the government shut down is worth the cost to government workers if it results in significant funding for a border barrier?,” 57.6 percent of New Hampshire registered voters said funding a border barrier was not worth the cost of the shutdown, while 35.8 percent said it was.  Another 6.6 percent were not sure.

The partisan divide on the shutdown vs. border question is wide, with 93 percent of Democrats saying no and 83 percent of Republicans supporting President Trump’s position. Unaffiliated voters, the largest group in the state, believe the shutdown isn’t worth the cost by a 65 to 23 percent margin.

Young Granite State voters were the most likely to reject the shutdown as an acceptable price for a border barrier, with just 25 percent of 18-30 year olds supporting it and 69 percent opposed. This is not good news for a GOP already struggling to attract Millennial and Gen Z voters.

“New Hampshire may be a purple state, but voters here are solidly against President Trump’s government-shutdown strategy. Such a wide gap in support from a state the president nearly carried just two years ago is not good news for the president or his agenda,” said Shawn McCoy, a former GOP campaign strategist who now serves as publisher of New Hampshire Journal.

The actual question and results:

Additional results from the latest NHJournal poll, including the president’s approval rating and results of head-to-head match-ups with potential Democrats, will be released soon.

The poll was conducted for NHJournal by Praecones Analytica between January 16-21. Survey results are based on a statewide sample of 593 registered voters in New Hampshire. Responses were gathered using both interactive voice response (IVR) landline calls as well as online surveys.

The margin of error for the entire sample is +/- 4.0%.