The Soapbox: All are welcome here

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Screen Shot 2017 03 06 at 6.58.40 PMStand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.

A Bhutanese man came with his young family from a refugee camp to New Hampshire and eventually became a leader in our state government. A young girl fled with her family from Afghanistan, and years later became a New Hampshire legislator.

A student from El Salvador completed her master’s degree in environmental and soil science at UNH with plans to help farmers, while a young man from Serbia uses his architecture degree from Keene State College to renovate and restore NH schools and universities.

Many of our nurses and healthcare workers are foreign-born, and they bring a wealth of expertise, experience and compassionate caring to the Granite State. Immigrant and refugee farmers and entrepreneurs sell fresh produce at farmers’ markets, open restaurants, and contribute significantly to our economy. Our state is made stronger and more interesting because of the immigrants in our communities.

They deserve our welcome and support.

Therefore, those of us in New Hampshire working closely with immigrant families are incensed and sickened by the inhumane and anti-immigrant policies of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and other governors of southern states who have rejected frightened families and sent them off to other communities. People crossing our borders have the legal right to ask for asylum under U.S. immigration laws. Using immigrants as pawns in sadistic political stunts should be denounced by all Americans; we are a better country than that. Fortunately, people in the communities where these immigrants were abandoned have warmly welcomed and provided for the needs of the tired and confused families.

The thoughtless actions of these governors distract us from the real need for a comprehensive and compassionate reform of U.S. immigrant programs and policies. We need programs that speed up and simplify the immigration processes at all levels. We need a public campaign to counter the current fear-mongering against immigrants, and instead honor their humanity and celebrate their valuable contributions to so many parts of the American economy and society.

We are grateful that the general public and advocates within the legal system are pushing against the irresponsible and failing actions of these governors. We join in that resistance. There is no place in the Granite State for fear and hatred of people simply seeking safe homes and better lives for their families and children. Instead, let us ensure that we are welcoming all those seeking to be free.


  • Eva Castillo, Director, New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees
  • Lindsey Shaffer, Coordinator, Welcoming New Hampshire
  • Becky Field, Photographer, Different Roots Common Dreams Photo Project
  • Marsha Feder, President, Granite State Organizing Project
  • Tristan Husby, President, Granite State Interfaith Action Fund
  • Sarah Jane Knoy, NH Immigrant Solidarity Network
  • Mary Georges, Executive Director and Founder, Victory Women of Vision
  • Clement Kigugu, Executive Director, Overcomers Refugee Services
  • Maggie Fogarty, American Friends Service Committee
  • Grace Kindeke, American Friends Service Committee
  • Margaret Moran, New Hampshire Legal Assistance
  • Jillian Reihl, New Hampshire Legal Assistance
  • Sue Corby, Welcoming Manchester
  • Nicole Demarest, Keene Immigrant and Refugee Partnership
  • Judith Reed, Project Home

Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? Your thoughtful prose on topics of general interest are welcome. Send submissions for consideration to, subject line: The Soapbox.

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About this Author

The Undersigned Allies of Immigrants and Refugees