Immigration Newsletter

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Will there be an Immigration Court in New Hampshire?

Well, not anytime soon perhaps.  But on an encouraging note -- Senator Shaheen's Office has contacted me and would like to explore my idea for a Northern New England Immigration Court.  I think it would be a great thing for the immigrant community here in New Hampshire and in the rest of Northern New England.

Some people may not realize it, but I have checked the numbers by zip code and I believe we have a sufficient number of cases to justify a full-time judge, or possibly two if we draw cases from northern counties of Massachusetts. The court in Boston already has two judges that commute from New Hampshire and at least one government attorney who does so.  Immigration & Customs Enforcement has already moved a large part of their operation out of downtown of Boston (to Burlington, MA) and USCIS has recently moved a good portion of their staff north to Lawrence, MA as well.

Anything that cuts the number of vehicles traveling into downtown Boston every morning is a good move in terms of reducing pollution and cutting fuel use and accident rates.  I happen to believe that having a federal immigration court in Manchester will be good for business, especially for the airport, the restaurants and the hotels.  Quite often a client with a case at the immigration court has family members come in from other parts of the country to help present the case, there are also expert witnesses and even interpreters that travel from other cities to assist in immigration cases. 

Clients of mine that come from northern towns in New Hampshire and Maine have to get up in the middle of the night just to be able to make it to the Massachusetts border by the morning -- where they get to then fight rush hour traffic for another hour or two getting into the city.  Sometimes for a scheduling hearing that might take all of ten minutes to complete.  Having a court in Manchester would not eliminate their trek, but it sure would reduce it and reduce the level of stress for them in an already stressful situation. A number of my Vermont clients actually have had to go to Hartford, Connecticut for court.  I have gone there a number of times -- and the drive there in the morning is not much different in hours than Boston. The drive back is a different story, however.  I think we could improve on that trip for most Vermonters as well (perhaps with the exception of the Southernmost counties).

If any of our readers support establishing an immigration court in New Hampshire I hope you will contact Senator Shaheen and let her know.  While you're at it you can contact Representative Carol Shea Porter who has written a letter of support in the past.  I don't know where Senator Gregg and Representative Hodes stand with regard to the proposal -- but I think if they knew it would be good for New Hampshire they would support it.  I think it would be good for Maine and Vermont as well.  There aren't enough cases to support courts in all three states and therefore Manchester, New Hampshire is the most logical choice because of the central location, the airport, and the proximity to Interstates 89 and 93, Route 3 and Route 101 coming directly from Interstate 95.  I thank Senator Shaheen's office for following up and I will keep my fingers crossed.