In his first executive order, new Mayor Ravi Bhalla declared Hoboken “a fair and welcoming city” as many city officials and advocates applauded the action earlier this afternoon.
“The Hoboken we know and love was built by immigrants and today is sustained by immigrants. Many of the immigrants who found a home in Hoboken sailed past Lady Liberty and her poem welcoming ‘your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,'” Bhalla said at the presser held inside the mayor’s office.
“This first executive order is a reflection of our quintessential American values and sends an unmistakable message that Hoboken is a place that welcomes all who are ready, willing, and able to contribute to our great city. We have challenges big and small to overcome in the years ahead, and we can only do that when our community works together in good faith towards a common goal.”
In February of last year, Union City and Jersey City were declared sanctuary cities, while West New York and Weehawken passed measures naming the municipalities “fair and welcoming communities” in May and June, respectively.
When Hudson County View asked Bhalla why he declared Hoboken a fair and welcoming community, as opposed to a sanctuary city, he said that sanctuary cities do not have legally defined terms and he wanted to write an order that was clear in protecting every resident regardless of race, nation or creed.
Furthermore, the mayor’s office said in a subsequent press release that the measure will mandate, among other things, “that local law enforcement resources will not be expended in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, and that the application of the law shall be equal irrespective of immigration status.”
Additionally, Bhalla later told the media that this legislative action would not deter the Hoboken Police Department from following the Attorney General guidelines on deportation, which were written in 2008.
Dignitaries in attendance were Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (both D-33), Councilmembers Jim Doyle, Michael Russo, and Emily Jabbour, Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante, Provisional Fire Chief Brian Crimmins, ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha, New Jersey regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Joshua Cohen, as well as faith leaders of the Hoboken Faith Clergy Coalition.