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Forum, May 14: Working to protect the rights of immigrants in N.H.


Monday, May 13, 2019
Working to protect the rights of immigrants in N.H.

You may be interested in what’s going on under the radar in New England with many hard-working immigrants. One after another, new, draconian measures continue to be instituted by the government. For example, all asylum seekers could be charged a fee, and if they can pay, the bureaucratic process is extremely complicated without a lawyer.

The Strafford County Department of Corrections in Dover, N.H., a facility for pre-trial criminal defendants, has a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and it is here that people are taken to be processed. In the past, 20 to 25 people were detained, but since July 2018, the number has been significantly increased. Some get transferred to other facilities in other states. Prior to 2016, ICE set bond for immigrants without criminal records, but after 2016, there is no bond release. They must go to the immigration judge in Boston. If they cannot afford a lawyer (which is mostly the case), they will not be able to submit the paperwork and will have no access to the judge. With no resources nor legal representation, detained immigrants have felt hopeless.

In July 2018, the ACLU of New Hampshire launched the Immigrants’ Rights Project to act when something unconstitutional, unlawful or unconscionable occurs to these detained immigrants. Because of the growing need, ACLU has had to recruit and train new lawyers in immigration law and proceedings. We encourage citizens of the Upper Valley to support this effort and all efforts to protect the rights of immigrants in the Granite State.

MARIANNE ALVERSON

Lyme

Column did not address the taboo topic of overpopulation

Washington Post contributor Helaine Olen’s opinion column (“Mass biodiversity extinction: We’re killing off the species we need to survive,” May 9), repeats the same dialogue of fossil fuel consumption, disposable/materialistic economies, habitat destruction and negligence by government.

She closes the piece by writing, “To refuse to take meaningful action to address that reality is an expression of contempt for the future. It’s a giant insult to all of humanity, but especially to our children and grandchildren, who will be forced to live with the consequences of our current inaction.” This reveals the ultimate problem: the taboo subject of overpopulation. As far as the reversibility of the current condition, it’s nearly impossible unless we educate the world about this issue and get the media to be fearless in explaining this concept.

JAMES VENIZELOS

East Thetford

Stunned and embittered by Hanover zoning battle

Three chapters of my life have left me embittered and stunned at the stupidity of it all. Those would be my year in serving in Iraq, another year in Afghanistan and my years of frustration with Hanover’s zoning.

I want to put a second floor on my home. That would improve my life and neighborhood. I’d even pay more in taxes. However, some town functionary long ago zoned the land under my duplex as single-family. That made my house a nonconforming property limited to 20% expansion. Not understanding the rules and how senseless things could get, I built a nice two-story garage after I retired from the Marines. I was then told I could use the first floor, but not the second. Town rules stated I’d used up my expansion allowance.

Like many structures built in the 1940s and 1950s, my home is poorly insulated, has an old and odd roof, strange floor plan and old wiring. Plus, I need a nice room and bathroom for my ailing, 94-year-old mother. None of that matters. I tried to get a variance and wasted my time and $500, and more on the appeal. I tried to change the rule by going before the voters, but the Zoning Board put on the ballot that it was against my proposal and ruined my chances. I asked to change the zoning of just my property, which would match the zoning across the street, but the board said there was nothing it could do. I fear I will be soon be too feeble and arthritic to do the work, which is how I make the improvements affordable. My new proposal will be on the ballot this May.

I just want to fix my house and enjoy it for my remaining years. I need your vote this May. However, should I fail, I will be back in 2020 — right after I change my name to Dartmouth College. Those people seem to get the approval of the Hanover Zoning Board without any problems at all.

WARREN COUGHLIN

Hanover

A couple of reality checks

Letters to the Forum come and go, but two on May 7 are decidedly not the best.

Yes, as Tyler P. Harwell notes, marijuana is technically illegal at the federal level (“The folly and hypocrisy of Vermont’s marijuana debate”). However, please observe that there are presently no problems in this area. Why bring the matter up? And it is a fact that marijuana does not cause users to kill multiple people in car accidents.

Second, William A. Wittik adds false and irrelevant information to the worn-out abortion debate (“Connecting abortion, eugenics and immigrants”). And, for good measure, he throws in an unsubstantiated slam at the Democrats and provides yet more untruths and insults about Native American people.

Both writers need a reality check.

JIM LUDWIG

Tunbridge