Citizens Count

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Citizens Count is a nonprofit that provides the people of New Hampshire with the tools and information they need to make a difference. We make it easy to learn what’s happening with key issues, from gun rights and drug policy to health care and renewable energy. We research and profile every candidate for state or federal office in the Granite State.  We build connections between people and their elected officials, helping them share their stories and make an impact. We do it all without any bias or agenda because we believe that democracy works best when we all have a seat at the table.   

Here are just some of the services we provide: 

Unbiased reporting on government: We investigate and summarize key issues before the governor and legislature, from school funding to coronavirus-related spending. Our articles provide the facts, pros, and cons – spin not included. 

In-depth candidate research: Every election, we help tens of thousands of Granite Staters cast a more informed vote. That’s thanks to our objective, in-depth profiles on all New Hampshire’s candidates for state or federal office. We survey and research roughly 900 candidates every election cycle, making us by far the most comprehensive resource for election information in the state.   

Legislation tracking: is the only place you’ll find every piece of legislation going through the state Legislature summarized in plain English and organized by topic. This means we’re the first and best place thousands of New Hampshire citizens go to get answers to their questions about everything from gun laws to energy policy. 

Make your voice heard: We leverage technology to facilitate connections between the people of New Hampshire. We build tools Granite Staters can use to easily contact their representatives about issues they care about. 

Our mission 

Citizens Coun is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to serve New Hampshire citizens by:

  • providing objective information about issues and candidates
  • promoting the civil exchange of opinions in a variety of forums, online and in person
  • connecting citizens with their elected officials

Want to get involved with Citizens Count? You can join us in our mission by donating or volunteering today.

As of 2017, immigrants made up 6.2%(link is external) of New Hampshire’s population. That includes both foreign-born naturalized citizens, legal non-citizen immigrants, and immigrants who are here illegally. New Hampshire’s immigrants come from a wide range of nations(link is external).  The largest immigrant populations are from Canada and India.

Forty-five percent(link is external) of immigrants in New Hampshire have a college or postgraduate degree. Nearly 90%(link is external) of them report speaking English well or very well.

Refugees in NH

New Hampshire is an established site for the U.S. refugee resettlement program(link is external). The cities of Manchester, Nashua, and Concord have all opted-in to the program. From 2011-2017, refugees were resettled here at a rate of roughly 400 per year(link is external). That number dropped to 162 in 2018, as the Trump administration throttled back the refugee program.

New Hampshire’s refugee program(link is external) is run by the state Department of Health and Human Services. The DHHS works in partnership with several nonprofit organizations. The program is funded by the federal government. Refugees receive assistance with finding employment, school integration, and English language learning. They may also be eligible for cash assistance.

Most refugees(link is external) in New Hampshire come from Africa or Asia. There are particularly high populations of refugees from Bhutan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Temporary immigration to NH

Each year, a couple of thousand immigrants come to work in New Hampshire with temporary visas. Most of these immigrants are skilled workers on H-1B visas(link is external). There were 2,879(link is external) such visa holders in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available. Most were in the high-tech industry. A smaller number of immigrants work in New Hampshire temporarily on H-2A or H-2B visas, for agricultural or seasonal work.

Illegal immigration in NH

An estimated 13%(link is external) of New Hampshire’s immigrants are undocumented. That amounts to 0.7% of the general population.

Unlike some states, New Hampshire does not allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. They are also not eligible for in-state tuition at state colleges and universities. New Hampshire law explicitly prohibits undocumented immigrants from receiving Medicaid or CHIP(link is external). (Some states(link is external) use state funds to offer coverage through those programs for immigrants here illegally.)

New Hampshire does not require employers to run prospective employees through E-Verify, a federal system that determines citizenship status. 

Drivers licenses for immigrants in NH

Immigrants who are in New Hampshire legally can apply for a non-citizen state driver’s license. This includes foreign college students or people in the state for business reasons. They will need to present documentation proving their legal status and must take a full driving test.

NH immigration field office

The Manchester field office for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is located in Bedford. It handles a range of services related to immigration but by appointment only. The office does not accept walk-ins. A request for an appointment should be made through the USCIS Contact Center.

(The Manchester field office should not be confused with the National Visa Center in Portsmouth, which is not open to the public. The National Visa Center is a processing facility and does not offer any direct services to immigrants.)

Immigrants who are looking for more assistance may wish to contact support groups or an immigration lawyer. A list of resources for immigrants in New Hampshire is available.

Immigration Debates in NH

New Hampshire has seen its share of recent immigration controversies.

Border checkpoints

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has staged several immigration checkpoints in places like Woodstock and Lebanon. Most of these were on I-93 some distance from the border. The checkpoints have been highly controversial, sparking legal actions by the ACLU.

Sanctuary Cities in NH

Sanctuary cities limit how local police and government cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

There are no municipalities in New Hampshire that have officially declared themselves sanctuary cities. Portsmouth and Durham considered doing so in 2017. They ultimately backed down under pressure from the Trump administration. A few towns and one county do have policies that limit when local police or officials can inquire into someone’s citizenship status.

An attempt to ban sanctuary cities statewide failed in 2019.