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Community Report: Upper Valley Town To Let Voters Decide On 'Welcoming' Status

Two people hold up a sign that says "Border Patrol Ahead" over a highway.
Jennifer Hauck
Valley News
Asma Elhuni, left, of White River Junction holds a sign with Suzanne Serat of Hanover, N.H., over I-89 south in Lebanon, N.H., on Sept. 5, 2019. Lebanon voters will decide in March whether to ban local police from asking someone's immigration status.

Each week, VPR reaches out to local newspaper reporters to get more details on a big story in their community. This week, John Gregg from the Valley News talks about the Lebanon City Council's decision to send a "Welcoming Lebanon" ordinance to voters.

Gregg said over 600 city residents, or 10% of the checklist, petitioned for the ordinance, which prohibits the Lebanon Police Department from inquiring about a person's immigration status.

"People are very concerned about protecting immigrants in the community," he said.

Valley News reporter Tim Camerato wrote the story about the city council's 8-1 vote this past week to include the ordinance on the March ballot without changes.

Read Tim Camerato's story in the Valley News here.

Camerato reported if the ordinance is approved, it will forbid police from detaining people for immigration law violations, and it will prevent federal immigration officials from interviewing people in Lebanon police custody.

He also noted that the ordinance includes a clause requiring municipal employees aware of federal immigration activities to warn residents.

Gregg said a similar ordinance will go to voters in Harford and Norwich.

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