New Hampshire GOP Chairs to Candidates: Support Immigration Reform
July 10, 2015
Comprehensive immigration reform carries support among New Hampshire’s Republican leaders. Both U.S. Senators back reform, joining the chorus of former state GOP Chairs who understand that this position is not only good policy but good politics for the 2016 GOP contenders. Even though New Hampshire does not have a large immigrant population (5.4 percent), that percentage has risen from 3.7 percent in 1990.
“As a pastor I see this issue as a biblical mandate for me in the context of helping the poor and disadvantaged in society. Evangelicals are not as one-sided as sometimes we’re made out to be on this issue. People in our churches want to know how Scripture applies to what we’re seeing in the daily news.”
— Kevin McBride, Senior Pastor, Raymond Baptist Church
Senator Kelly Ayotte: A Strong Proponent of Comprehensive Reform
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) voted for the broad immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013. “As a nation of immigrants, we must remember that we’re all descended from people who came here from somewhere else in search of a better life,” she said. Ayotte also hailed the bill for its mechanisms to bring undocumented immigrants “out of the shadows” and offer them a “tough but fair” way to earn citizenship. Making them pay taxes, pass a background check and learn English is the right way to handle a difficult problem, she said.
The GOP Supports Reform — and Candidates Know It:
During the Senate debate in 2013, five former chairs of the New Hampshire GOP joined forces to urge Republicans to support reform. Steve Duprey, John Stabile, Wayne Semprini, Fergus Cullen and Wayne MacDonald wrote, “Supporting immigration reform is in the political interests of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. We have faith in the ability of future Republican candidates to connect our party’s limited government, pro-freedom philosophy to improving the lives of all Americans. Supporting immigration reform is good policy. For Republicans, it’s also good politics.”
Duprey currently represents New Hampshire on the Republican National Committee. A prominent New Hampshire business owner, Duprey has been outspoken in support of reform. He also serves as Ayotte’s finance chair in her upcoming 2016 re-election campaign.
Recently, New Hampshire business, community and political leaders launched Granite Staters for Common Sense Immigration Reform to highlight the need for reform and “encourage a constructive dialogue between New Hampshire voters and the candidates participating in New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Presidential Primary.” As Ray Boissoneau, founder of Electropac, wrote June 26 in the New Hampshire Business Review, “New Hampshire has an immense economic stake in reforming our broken immigration system. Those who are seeking our nation’s highest office need to put forth concrete proposals for fixing our broken immigration system and expand much-needed access to high-skilled tech graduates from other countries.”
Perhaps more than in any other state, GOP Voters in New Hampshire will have a chance to hear directly and often from all of the Republican candidates. Already, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker caused confusion on his position while at a closed press dinner in Bedford in March. The stir led the current state GOP chair, Jennifer Horn, to clarify to the press that he in fact stated his support for “a pathway to legal status.”
Immigrants Are Counteracting the New Hampshire STEM Shortage:
Immigration is an increasingly important part of the state’s workforce, which has a shortage of employees in science and technology. There are more STEM job openings than unemployed STEM workers: From 2009 to 2011, 2.3 STEM job openings were posted online in New Hampshire for each unemployed STEM worker in the state. As STEM fields grow, this problem will likely get worse: New Hampshire will need to fill 38,500 new STEM jobs by 2020.
Immigrants are over-represented in the STEM workforce: In 2010, one in six STEM workers with an advanced degree in New Hampshire was foreign-born. Immigrants are critical in the healthcare industry: In 2012, 15.9 percent of physicians in New Hampshire had graduated from a foreign medical school.
New Hampshire Faith Media Availability:
Kevin McBride, Senior Pastor, Raymond Baptist Church
Please contact Cathleen Farrell to arrange interviews.
THIS WEEK IN RAYMOND (McBride Post): First in the Nation and Immigration Reform