Two of New Hampshire's Seacoast Towns Mull Sanctuary City Status

Feb 3, 2017

As President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees garners strong reaction from around the country, officials in Durham and Portsmouth have begun discussions about potentially declaring themselves sanctuary cities.

Officials in both communities say they’ve heard from residents about the idea, possibly as part of a coordinated campaign.

Sanctuary cities, broadly speaking, pledge not to help federal authorities detain illegal immigrants. President Trump has said he would cut federal funding from sanctuary cities.

Portsmouth Assistant Mayor Jim Splaine says that while he’s in favor of the concept, he says the city council should be very careful about jeopardizing federal funds.

“If we lose funds for police activities, if we lose funds for our education, I mean we could be talking about millions of dollars of funding that we would lose and that’s why we really need to try to find out exactly what that means to Portsmouth.”

Last year, Portsmouth received at least 5 million dollars in federal funding.

Meanwhile, Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig says the town council will investigate exactly what the designation would mean for Durham, and whether it would significantly differ from the policies already in place.

The municipal councils in both communities will discuss the matter at their respective meetings,  Monday night.