Syrian-born NJ mayor rejects sanctuary city status, risists pressure from imigrants

A new Jersey mayor who was born in Syria is taking a stand against sanctuary cities.

Montvale Mayor Mike Ghassali believes he is doing what is best for his municipality by refusing to declare it a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, WNYW Fox 5 reported.

Ghassali, who was born in Aleppo and came to the United States with his family when he was 15, posted a message on Facebook last week saying he would not be “advocating the defiance of federal laws.”

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Image: Facebook/Mayor Mike Ghassali

The Republican mayor, who ran for office as an Independent candidate, is currently in the second year of his term.

He noted that he does not have the authority to write an executive order even though he was asked to join mayors of other New Jersey municipalities who have declared sanctuary city status.

“I can’t break the law,” Ghassali said, revealing that his national background and interaction with refugees in his community lead to assumptions that he would join the other mayors in that “agenda.”

Earlier this month, the Muslim mayor of Prospect Park signed his own executive order declaring his city a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Mohamed Khairullah, who was also born in Aleppo like Ghassali, ordered his city not to comply  “in the enforcement of Federal Immigration Law.”

Democrat Mayor Steven Fulop also supported sanctuary city policies for Jersey City, signing an executive order earlier this month promising that no one’s immigration status would ever be questioned in his municipality.

But for Montvale’s Mayor Ghassali, his job is local.

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His focus, he believes, should be on issues like taxes and transportation, removing emotions and his personal feelings from his responsibility to residents.

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Frieda Powers

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