By Steve Neavling
Syrian refugees in New Jersey are alarmed by phone calls they are receiving from the FBI.
The immigrants have declined to meet with the FBI because of their fear of law enforcement, NJ Spotlight reports.
But FBI officials said the refugees have nothing to worry about.
There is “nothing covert about what we’re doing in this operation,” said special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Newark, Timothy Gallagher. “When they’re ready to sit down, we’d be happy to sit down. This is outreach. This is not surveillance.”
Refugees are afraid of contact with federal law enforcement, immigrant advocates said.
“They come from a police dictatorship where speaking to government agencies can make people disappear, sometimes for years, so they’re definitely very afraid,” said Mohamed Khairullah, a Syrian-American and the mayor of Prospect Park, NJ.
In Syria, refuges often had bad encounters with law enforcement.