May 22, 2018

Mayor Bhalla Issues Executive Order Designating Hoboken a Fair and Welcoming City

Hoboken, NJ - Monday, January 1st, 2018

For his first act as Mayor of the City of Hoboken, Ravinder S. Bhalla signed an Executive Order officially designating Hoboken as a “Fair and Welcoming City.”

“The Hoboken we know and love was built by immigrants and today is sustained by immigrants,” said Mayor Bhalla. “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.’” 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.”

Mayor Bhalla was joined for a signing ceremony for the executive order by Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, 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, faith leaders of the Hoboken Faith Clergy Coalition, and others.

“Our national identity is forged by the experience of immigrants and few cities exemplify the principles of diversity and acceptance better than Hoboken,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Today, by signing this executive order declaring Hoboken a fair and welcoming city, Mayor Bhalla has made official what has always been understood:  ours is a nation that welcomes, embraces, and defends those who come here with good will and the desire to make a better life.  This quintessentially American value is written in our hearts and will never be erased, and while it may be under assault by those who preach intolerance, Hoboken is reminding the world that hate will not win.”

A Fair and Welcoming Municipality Executive Order mandates, 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.

Police Chief Ferrante will also be issuing a Police Directive which will implement the policies set forth in Mayor Bhalla’s Executive Order.

“When we pledge allegiance to the flag, we commit ourselves to the pursuit of ‘liberty and justice for all,’ and today’s actions to create a community based on fairness and to better protect crime victims are an important step towards fulfilling that promise,” said Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante. “Studies show that undocumented residents who fall victim to crime – even heinous, violent crime – too often don’t report them to police due to fear of penalties or deportation. I am hopeful that this policy will ease those concerns so that we as a police department can investigate alleged crimes and take violent criminals who prey on vulnerable victims off the streets and send them towards prosecution in our criminal justice system.”

“Since the time of its Incorporation as a City, in 1855, our ‘fair City of Hoboken’ has always been a Welcoming City to those who left their various homelands – some voluntarily seeking a better existence for themselves and loved ones and some involuntarily, fleeing dangerous and oppressive situations, seeking refuge and a community to accept them,” said Rev. Msgr. Michael A. Andreano, Vicar General and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Newark and Pastor at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Hoboken. “The Catholic Christian Community, keenly recalls that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph – the Holy Family, whose Feast we celebrated this weekend – also had to flee their ‘homeland’ seeking refuge. As such, we have always supported the compassionate welcoming of those seeking justice, safety, and a better way of life. Mayor Bhalla’s action today reaches back to Hoboken’s history, respecting where this City has been and using it as a foundation on which our present and future will rest in continuing our City as fair and welcoming to all. Today, God smiles upon us for being a Community seeking to give Hope, to those whose lives may be in despair. On behalf of the Catholic Community of Hoboken, and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, we applaud and support Mayor Bhalla for reminding us what ‘living in Community’ is all about.”

“This progressive, comprehensive executive order demonstrates the approach communities can take to protect all their residents from the anti-immigrant policies of the federal government,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “We applaud Mayor Bhalla for his leadership and beginning his administration on a note of inclusion and justice for all.”

“Hoboken was and will continue to be home to many immigrants hoping to build a better future for their families,” said Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro. “Community policing works best when there is mutual trust between the police and the community. I applaud our new mayor for signing his first executive order making Hoboken a Fair and Welcoming City and ensuring our local police can focus on keeping the community safe, not facilitating counter-productive federal policies that undermine trust and instill fear in our residents.”

The Hoboken City Council will also be considering the adoption of Resolution affirming the policies set forth in the Executive Order.

“I lived my first 11 years in Hoboken as an undocumented immigrant, and in that time my parents and I lived in constant fear,” said Ron Bautista, former mayoral candidate. “That’s one thing that Mayor Bhalla’s Executive Order will change – it will make Hoboken a more welcoming city that will help our immigrant communities build a stronger relationship with our police.”

“I appreciate that in one of his first official actions, our new Mayor is making it a priority to demonstrate that diversity is a strength of our city, as it is a strength of our state and our country,” said Rabbi Robert Scheinberg of the United Synagogue of Hoboken.

Click here to view the executive order: www.hobokennj.gov/docs/mayor/Bhalla-EO1-Fair-Welcoming-City.pdf

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