New Hampshire state Senate Democrats lashed out at their GOP colleagues Thursday when a bill banning sanctuary city policies came up for a second reading, claiming a ban isn’t needed and accusing its supporters of racism and fearmongering.

“I don’t wanna be Texas,” thundered Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester). “That governor in Texas drives me out of my mind!”

“We’re not here to solve the border crisis,” insisted Sen. Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton). “We are not Congress. We are not here to address the border crisis. We are here to solve problems for New Hampshire citizens.”

Supporters of SB 563 said the bill was needed precisely to deal with problems facing New Hampshire or those headed to the Granite State due to the chaos at America’s southern border.

“You see the problem in Massachusetts? More than $45 million a month. That’s what it’s costing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Sen. Daryl Abbas (R-Salem) regarding services for migrants across the state line. “And that’s what they’re getting with all their sanctuary policies. Because it’s a magnet for illegal immigrants to go there.”

Massachusetts has longstanding practices of supporting sanctuary policies and guaranteeing every resident a “right to shelter.” It also has some of the most generous welfare benefits in the country, spending an estimated $64 per day feeding illegal immigrants who’ve flocked to the state.

Several Democrats, including Sen. Cindy Rosenwald  (D-Nashua), pointed to a letter signed by several police chiefs across the state stating that they opposed the ban in part because it would cost money for local departments to help federal agencies enforce immigration law.

Republicans scoffed at that argument, pointing out local police were more than happy to join the feds when forfeiture of assets under drug busts was in the offing. And, Senate President Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) added, the minor costs of increased policing didn’t compare to the costs of drawing more illegal immigrants with sanctuary policies.

“Our counterparts in Massachusetts are voting on an appropriation bill of $825 million to fund these services. Now, I’m really glad we were able to work together on feeding hungry New Hampshire children, and I’m hopeful that next week, we’ll be able to ensure that homeless shelters stay open for New Hampshire residents. But I certainly don’t want us having to vote on something akin to $825 million.”

Democrats didn’t budge.

Whitley, who has repeatedly called out her GOP colleagues for using the term “illegal alien” to describe foreigners in the country without legal authorization, returned to her theme that rejecting sanctuary cities was a form of bigotry.

“Don’t fall prey to the fearmongering, to the creation of ‘the other,’ to the creation of an enemy. We are better than that in New Hampshire,” Whitley told the Senate. “Granite Staters have made it clear that this type of unnecessary legislation is not only mean-spirited and unwelcome, but it’s antithetical to our values.”

D’Allesandro warned of racist policing if this bill passes.

“Our police chief has worked long and hard to bring the community together…to create a situation where people get along. If you’re Black, if you’re Brown, if you’re White, you all get along,” D’Allesandro said, adding, “Do I want a cop who sees somebody on the street that doesn’t look good, grabbing him and doing the federal job? No!”

That comment drew a harsh rebuke from Abbas.

“It doesn’t matter what you look like,” Abbas said. “This only applies to illegal immigrants. That is it. So to think that the police are going to look at someone because they’re a minority and simply bring them into custody, that’s not going to happen. It’s an insult to the police officers to even suggest that that’s how this law would be enforced.”

The bill passed yet again on a party-line vote, 14-9. (One Democrat was absent.)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Chuck Morse, who until recently served as Senate President, was on hand to urge his former colleagues to back the bill.

“The border is the number one issue I hear about when I’m campaigning,” Morse told NHJournal after the vote. “When people talk about the border, they also talk about crime, about drugs, about fentanyl. I have dads who talk about Laken Riley — they have daughters, and they we just can’t let this happen in America. And definitely not in New Hampshire. If I’m governor, it won’t.”

With polls showing Americans picking border chaos as a top priority, why are both of the New Hampshire Democratic candidates for governor opposing increased enforcement measures like SB 536?

“They have signed onto a losing proposition,” Morse said. “They don’t want to admit how bad the problem is. They don’t want to admit a 600 percent increase along the northern border.”

Morse’s competitor in the GOP gubernatorial primary has also been outspoken on the sanctuary city issue.

“I fully support the commonsense public safety legislation passed today by Senate Republicans to ban sanctuary cities in New Hampshire,” Ayotte said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Joyce Craig and Cinde Warmington support making our communities sanctuaries for illegal immigrants and would bring the chaos in Massachusetts to New Hampshire. As governor, I won’t let that happen.”