CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE — A New Hampshire House subcommittee considering a resolution putting New Hampshire on the side of Arizona’s approach to immigration policy will recommend the resolution be put aside for further study when the full Committee on State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs meets tomorrow.
After a discussion of whether states have the constitutional authority to enact their own immigration policies, the subcommittee members concluded study was preferable to endorsing the resolution, HCR 2, as submitted by Rep. Bruce Marcus (R- Peterborough), or proposing their own amended language.
Rep. Seth Cohn (R-Canterbury) proposed substitute language expressing sympathy with the victims of the Tucson shooting, but this was rejected.
Rep. Marcus, who missed last week’s hearing on his resolution, testified that Arizona and other southern states are facing huge expenses for health care and education due to the federal government’s failure to enforce immigration law. Arizona’s schools, he said, use curriculum materials which call for Mexico to forcibly re-take land which has been part of the USA since the 19th century. The problem is spreading, he warned.
“I am only asking that we support the state of Arizona in their fight with the federal government,” he said. But sub-committee members appeared to be uncomfortable with a resolution which said the state of New Hampshire “fully supports” Arizona’s approach, which is being challenged in court on constitutional grounds.
Rep. Todd Smith (R-Hooksett), who chaired the subcommittee, suggested language that instead of implying explicit support for Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 would state that New Hampshire supports the right of Arizona to protect its own borders. But even that has constitutional problems, said Rep. Cohn and others in the hearing room.
“If we say we’re supporting Arizona everyone’s going to say we’re supporting SB 1070,” protested Rep. Theodoros Rokas (D-Manchester).
Rep. Lynn Blankenbecker (R-Concord) observed there did not appear to be support for endorsing the resolution as written, and suggested the Committee refer the bill to interim study. Her resolution was adopted unanimously by the sub-committee.
Discussion of whether the US Constitution reserves control of the borders to the federal government, or whether the 10th Amendment gives states authority to enact their own immigration policies, will be left to another day.