New Hampshire Democrats and their progressive allies pumped up their opposition to increased border security Wednesday, holding a press conference to claim there is no northern border “crisis” and oppose Gov. Chris Sununu’s Northern Border Alliance Task Force.
They also released a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claiming Sununu’s task force “is premised on the assertion that there is a ‘crisis’ along the New Hampshire-Canada border. There is no data to support such an assertion.”
The task force, announced at a press conference last week, is being funded with $1.4 million from the state budget, funding overwhelmingly opposed by Democrats in the state legislature. 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.”
The federal delegation has ignored requests from Sununu asking for help restoring some $3.8 million in state border security funding stripped from New Hampshire by the Biden administration. “The delegation has done nothing,” Sununu said.
Meanwhile, in the Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Swanton Sector (which includes New Hampshire, Vermont, and part of New York), “apprehensions have topped 6,700 in less than one year—surpassing 11 prior years combined,” the U.S. Border Patrol reported in September.
The Border Patrol also reported having caught more than 170 “known or suspected terrorists illegally entering the United States from Mexico or Canada over the past 12 months, finishing out the government’s fiscal year with the highest number in national history.”
And CBP data show that in fiscal years 2022 and 2023, encounters with people in the Terror Screening Data Set — aka the “Terror Watch List” — have been five to six times higher at the border with Canada than with Mexico.
At Wednesday’s press conference at the State House, representatives of the ACLU-NH, Rights and Democracy, the American Friends Service Committee, and other far-left organizations acknowledged the increase in illegal crossings at the northern border. But they rejected the data because “these statistics are not specific to New Hampshire, but rather cover the entire Swanton Sector. The New Hampshire-Canada border only constitutes about 58 of the 295 miles of Canadian border in the Swanton Sector.”
And since many of those illegals could be coming into New Hampshire after first crossing the U.S. border in Vermont, Sununu’s task force is both unnecessary and potentially dangerous to immigrants in the Granite State.
According to socialist activist Arnie Alpert, New Hampshire progressives’ message is that increased focus on immigration enforcement creates a climate of hate. He quoted Grace Kindeke of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) as saying Sununu’s “inaccurate” statements about the New Hampshire border illegal immigration “fan the flames of fear and anger and resentment, and inevitably will lead to a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, as well as other harms that harm all members of our communities, but particularly those that are perceived to be immigrants or people of color.”
Sununu expressed frustration with the opposition.
“From obstructing common-sense bail reform fixes to protesting the state’s efforts to secure our northern border, groups like the ACLU simply do not care about keeping our communities safe. Why?”
Polls show Americans in general and Granite Staters in particular believe border security is important. President Joe Biden has overseen the highest number of illegal border crossings since the federal government began keeping records. In the fiscal year that ended October 1, U.S. border agents encountered over 3.2 million illegal aliens — more than twice New Hampshire’s entire population.
A new Economist/YouGov poll released Wednesday found that 84 percent of Americans said immigration was a very or somewhat important issue. And 60 percent disapprove of the job Biden is doing addressing it.
Democrats continue to push back against efforts to increase immigration enforcement. All four Democrats in the state’s federal delegation oppose using deportation to enforce immigration laws. Both Democrats running for governor, Mayor Joyce Craig and Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, continue to support so-called “sanctuary” policies that work to prevent the enforcement of immigration laws.
Mark Krikorian with the Center for Immigration Studies said Democrats’ demands that Sununu prove illegal immigration is specific to the state’s 58 miles of northern border is misguided.
“Illegal border flows are a moving target — if the number of border infiltrations spikes in Vermont, the Border Patrol will respond, and smugglers will just shift to nearby areas if they are less secure. That’s why border security needs to be seamless and across-the-board, denying smuggling gangs and their customers any openings.”
New Hampshire Republicans are more than happy to have Democrats fighting against border security and opposing the new task force.
“If New Hampshire Democrats would take a moment to look up from Joe Biden’s playbook and instead listen to the Granite Staters facing this crisis, they would understand the critical necessity for this support,” said GOP gubernatorial candidate Chuck Morse. “During the past week, I traveled to our northern border, and it is undeniable that the crisis is here. Protecting our communities must always be our state’s highest priority, and as governor, I will use every available resource to do just that.”
Kelly Ayotte has made border security and opposing sanctuary cities a centerpiece of her bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
“The Democrats are living in an alternative reality. Border Patrol has told us that northern border crossings are at historic levels. Joe Biden’s open border policies have allowed for criminals and drug dealers to flow into our state. As governor, I will enforce our immigration laws, provide additional resources to secure our northern border, and never allow sanctuary cities.”