NH's Immigration Story

Our 9 month series, New Hampshire's Immigration Story explored just that... the vast history of who came to New Hampshire, when they came, why they came, the challenges they faced once they landed on Granite State soil and the contributions that they brought to our state. The Exchange, Word of Mouth, and our News Department looked at the issue of immigration from its first arrivals to the newest refugees calling New Hampshire home.

We saw how immigration affects our economy, health care, education system, culture and our current system of law. We also looked at what's going on in New Hampshire today, as we uncovered the groups, societies and little known people who are making an impact all over the state.

Funding for NH's Immigration Story is brought to you in part by: New Hampshire Humanities Council, Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation, The Gertrude Couch Trust

File photo by Allegra Boverman for NHPR

If you attend any Republican presidential campaign event these days, you are all but guaranteed to hear a voter ask this:

“What would you do about illegal immigration?”  

Immigration and the Campaign Trail

Aug 6, 2015
John McIntosh / Flickr/CC

It’s been a top issue this primary season: how to fix what most everyone agrees is a system in need of reform. The remedies vary, from bolstering the border to establishing a path to citizenship.  In some cases, as with GOP candidate Donald Trump, the rhetoric has been heated. We’ll look at how this issue is playing out among both parties.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The late June morning grows warmer as seven refugee farmers till their new plots at Lewis Farm in Concord. This is the second "incubator" farm established by the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success, or ORIS. After the success of their first location, the organization established another to meet the interest of their clients.

Immigration Impasse: The Future Of Reform

Jan 26, 2015
Jerry Schmidt / Flickr/CC

Late last year, President Obama issued sweeping directives for allowing a certain group of undocumented immigrants to remain here without fear of deportation. On Capitol Hill, opposition is fierce among Republicans, who are now coming up with ways to undo these actions.  We’ll find out more, including impacts in the Granite State.

GUESTS:

The New Hampshire Humanities Council’s Connections program is an adult literacy program that aims to develop communities of readers. Hari Sharma, who is originally from Bhutan, joined Connections via his ESOL class. 

 

The books he read with his connections were selected around to focus on important cultural lessons. One unit was based on American suffrage icons including, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Courtesy Shaheen.Senate.gov

New Hampshire’s two U.S. Senators are split on President Obama’s executive order on immigration preventing nearly five million people in the country illegally from being deported.

During a visit to Portsmouth Friday, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said there’s legal precedent for the president’s action.

But Shaheen said there’s more to work to be done.

“I think Congress needs to act. That’s the way to address this issue and to get it done in a way that addresses our border security and addresses our visa system – all of the aspects of immigration.”

Jack Rodolico

New immigrants often face an unexpected challenge: how to navigate away from an American diet that takes a toll on your health? That’s becoming easier in New Hampshire due to a network of markets and farms that carry familiar foods for the state’s foreign residents.

New Hampshire is home to a small but growing immigrant population; about one in 20 Granite Staters are foreign born. And there’s an experience that unites many of them: that bewildering first visit to an American grocery store.

laconiamulticulturalfestival.org

The 13th annual Laconia Multicultural Festival will be held Saturday.

David Stamps is one of the event’s organizers and says it has grown to include more than 80 vendors and two music stages.

But he says it also hasn’t gotten away from its roots.

“We have a lot of nonprofits who participate. We have a lot of refugees, first Americans, and many Franco-Americans. It’s just such a variety.”

The downtown festival runs from 10 to 4 and opens with a Parade of Flags.

The New Hampshire Humanities Council’s Connections program is an adult literacy program that aims to develop communities of readers. Hari Sharma, who is originally from Bhutan, joined Connections via his ESOL class. 

 

The books he read with his connections were selected around to focus on important cultural lessons. One unit was based on American suffrage icons including, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King, Jr.

New England Reacts To The Immigrant Surge

Jul 21, 2014
dawn paley / Flickr/CC

We discuss New England's reaction to the surge in unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.- Mexico border, and what it means for the national debate on immigration.

Listen to the program here:

GUESTS:

Gov. Peter Shumlin has agreed to a request from the White House to investigate whether the state could house some of the undocumented children now being detained in the southwestern part of the country.

The request from the White House is the first step in a very long process. 

The initial goal is to determine how much capacity each state has to house some of the nearly 60,000 children who have streamed across the border in the last few weeks.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/partiallyblind/1164043991/in/photostream/" target="blank">partiallyblind</a> via Flickr/Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan says the federal government has not contacted the state about sheltering some of the unaccompanied children who have crossed the nation’s southern border illegally.

The federal government has reached out to other New England states, including Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut.

Governor Hassan’s spokesman says if the federal government were to make such a request, the governor would share that with the public, authorities, health officials and local communities.

Kyle Todesca, UNH

Senate lawmakers are considering a bill that would grant in-state tuition at University System of New Hampshire schools to children of undocumented immigrants.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

A new program helps refugees earn money by training stay-at-home moms to be entrepreneurs in the child care industry.


Sen. Ayotte Weighs In On Immigration Impasse

Feb 10, 2014
Kelly Ayotte in Portsmouth
Cheryl Senter / NHPR

New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte is weighing-in on immigration reform.  This after House Speaker John Boehner said he didn’t think he could pass a bill this year.  

We're kicking off a new feature on All Things Considered called New England Snapshot, where we look at issues around the region.

One issue playing out in a number of states is immigration. Here in New Hampshire, House lawmakers have approved a measure that would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition rates at University System of New Hampshire schools.

Bhutanese Community of N.H.

In November, a Bhutanese refugee living in Concord killed himself. Nationally, Bhutanese refugees have the highest suicide rate of any refugee population. And here in New Hampshire, where nearly 2,000 Bhutanese refugees have resettled in the last six years, the community is scrambling to answer the questions ‘why does this happen?’ and ‘how do we prevent it?’


acuoptimist / Flickr Creative Commons

A new documentary by New Hampshire filmmaker Doria Bramante follows exiles from the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan as they abandon their twenty-year effort to return home from Nepalese refugee camps and decide to seek a new life in America. Many of these refugees have resettled in the New Hampshire cities of Concord, Manchester, and Laconia. Today we take a look at their incredible journey…along with the challenges and successes of starting over in the Granite State.

GUESTS:

Refugee Documentary Screens In Concord

Nov 4, 2013

An independent documentary produced and directed by two Durham residents chronicles the journey of three refugee families, from their home country of Bhutan to resettlement here in New Hampshire.

The documentary, The Refugees of Shangri-Law, follows the long journey of three families, from the mountains of Nepal to the neighborhoods of the Granite State.

“There was never a strong emphasis on resettlement here in Nepal. It’s no longer that way.” ... Montage of interviews... “That’s why we want to go to America.”

NHPR / Michael Brindley

At the Warren B. Rudman Courthouse in Concord Friday morning, 81 people from 36 different countries took an oath and became American citizens.

Governor Maggie Hassan spoke at the naturalization ceremony.

Among those sworn in was a man originally from India who now lives in Hudson with his wife and their six month old child.

There was also a husband and wife, both native Kenyans, who became citizens together. They live in Lee with their four children.

And a Manchester man who moved to America from Sweden who said his citizenship was a long time coming. 

otzberg via flickr creative commons

On July 7th, the senate passed immigration reform legislation with an overwhelming majority. Meanwhile, the republican-led house has verbally panned the bill as “flawed legislation,” leaving little hope for a passage into law. But a new immigration solution has been posited in a report published by the non-profit Migration Policy Institute. Two and a half years in the making, the movement would utilize regional visas and limit immigrants to specific destinations within the United States. Demetrios Papademetriou is president and co-founder of the Migration Policy Institute.

The Senate has passed a significant overhaul of the country’s immigration laws.  The plan includes a path to citizenship and more border security. But the bipartisan effort has stalled at the House border, with some Republicans there calling the bill “dead on arrival.” We’ll talk with Granite Staters following  this debate.

Guests:

- Eva Castillo - Director of the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees.

It may be the largest war in the world that we don’t hear about. The death toll of what is now called the Great War of Africa likely stretches into the millions.

Hank Osborne / Lutheran Social Services

Lawmakers and members of the public met in Concord today to learn more about refugee resettlement efforts in New Hampshire. The breakfast gathering was organized by Lutheran Social Services, a non-profit that offers new refugees a range of services including short-term housing and English-language training.

Steve Duprey, a prominent real estate developer, helped launch a work-skills program in conjunction with Lutheran Social Services for new arrivals. He says it is one of the best moves he’s made in business.

Thirty years ago, Corrections Corporation of America opened its first private prison. As demand for border patrol increased over the decades, so has its earnings. Last year, CCA brought in $1.7 billion dollars in revenue – a quarter of which came from government agencies enforcing immigration policy and incarcerating non-citizens in the US. Lee fang is Reporting Fellow with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. He probed the connection between prison profits and stiffer immigration policies and came up with some unsettling answers.

Thirty years ago, Corrections Corporation of America opened its first private prison. As demand for border patrol increased over the decades, so has its earnings. Last year, CCA brought in $1.7 billion dollars in revenue – a quarter of which came from government agencies enforcing immigration policy and incarcerating non-citizens in the US. Lee fang is Reporting Fellow with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

twg1942 via Flickr Creative Commons

After years of rancor and stalemate there now appears to be rare bipartisan movement on this issue on Capitol Hill. Still, there is plenty of room for disagreement over such matters as a path to citizenship for those here illegally. We’ll take a look at some of the major issues at stake -- and what may happen nationally and here in New Hampshire.

Guests:

marlonius via flickr Creative Commons

With all the talk of how immigration reform will affect our neighbors to the South, we look at how it might affect immigrants to the United States from the Far East. 

A US based Chinese Journalist even argues that certain aspects of  the reforms might actually be beneficial for Asian immigrants. Mee Moua, Executive Director from the Asian American Justice Center joins us to discuss the issue.

For the past few years they’ve been our state’s largest incoming refugee group with hundreds coming every year.  A new documentary explores their journeys from nearly twenty years in refugee camps to new lives in the Granite State. We’ll hear their stories, their challenges and hopes for a new life in America. 

Guests

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