Essex County News

More Than 200 Attend 'Know Your Rights as an Immigrant' Forum in West Orange

More than 200 people pack the meeting room at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church to hear about their rights as immigrants. Credits: Alan Grossman
Councilman Victor Cirilo speaks about immigration experience to encourage new immigrants to keep pursuing the "American Dream." Looking on is Mayor Parisi and Deputy Mayor Rodriguez. Credits: Alan Grossman
Among those speaking at the forum were, from right, Mayor Robert Parisi, Chris Horacio Campos, of the Faith in New Jersey Organization, and Deputy Mayor Rodolfo Rodriguez. Credits: Alan Grossman

WEST ORANGE, NJ – With stronger enforcement of immigration laws being a top priority of the Trump Administration, immigrants in West Orange and beyond need to know their rights more than ever, according to the West Orange Hispanic Foundation (WOHF). In conjunction with the Faith in New Jersey Organization, the WOHF organized a “Know Your Rights as an Immigrant” forum on Sunday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in West Orange.

More than 200 people packed the church’s meeting room to hear from local officials about their rights as immigrants and to ask the officials questions.

Among the panelists interacting with the immigrant community were Mayor Robert Parisi, Assemblyman John McKeon, Councilman Victor Cirilo, attorney Fernando Marin, Chris Horacio Campos of the Faith in New Jersey Organization, and Deputy Mayor Rodolfo Rodriguez, founder of the WOHF and an organizer of the meeting.

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Parisi assured those present that all West Orange residents would be protected equally, and reiterated that there is no need to declare West Orange a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants.  

“The Hispanic community in West Orange knows they have a friend in Mayor Parisi, who has always been there for them and will continue to be in the future,” said Rodriguez.

Cirilo spoke about his life as a young émigré, and how through doing well in school and going to college he went on to become a councilman.

“I wanted Victor to speak to the crowd because he is a wonderful example for new immigrants and their children,” said Rodriguez, who added that the bottom-line message given to those present was not to panic. “We don’t want people to be scared. That is not a way to live your life.”

Some of the issues discussed during the forum included the importance of immigrants cooperating with law enforcement when necessary to do so and to always tell them the full truth.

“Immigrants must never drive without a license,” said Rodriguez. “If an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent comes to their home, the immigrant should not open their door without seeing a warrant order. They must never show fake identification, and always say their correct name.”

Immigrants at the meeting were told by officials to always cooperate with West Orange police, and that the police are not working with immigration agents.

Rodriguez told them that if they are ever pulled over by ICE officers, they should not run.

“This only makes things worse for them,” he said. “When dealing with ICE, immigrants should always ask for a lawyer. They should make sure they remember someone’s phone number to alert family members about where they are and their situation, and make 100 percent sure it is an ICE officer they are dealing with.”

McKeon assured those present that he would always have their backs when legislation dealing with immigration policy is considered in Trenton.

Among those attending the meeting was Shannon McKinnon, chairperson of the Essex Rising Fair & Welcoming Committee. In an interview with her after the meeting, she said her committee is urging West Orange “to stand up for the values we all cherish.”  

“Diversity is one of West Orange’s greatest strengths,” she said. “Assisting with federal immigration enforcement efforts would alienate our residents and damage our commitment to unity.”

Rodriguez said that McKinnon asked for his help in organizing a similar meeting at the Hazel Elementary School, which serves many immigrant families. He said he would do his best to pull such a meeting together, as well as another forum in a larger venue since the church’s meeting room was full to capacity and people who came later could not get in.

Future meeting dates will be posted on the West Orange Hispanic Foundation’s Facebook page. 

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South Orange Police Blotter - Adult Arrests for Shoplifting and DWI Reported

March 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of March 16

Adult Arrest/Shoplifting - William Minitee, a 45 year old Irvington resident was arrested on Thursday, March 8, at approximately 12:40 p.m. for shoplifting. Security officers at the Stop & Shop on Valley Street observed Minitee conceal several items on his person and then flee the store without paying for the items. Officers stopped a subject ...

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March 6 - Burglary; At approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a home on Broadview Avenue on a report of a ...

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March 21, 2018

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Upcoming Events

Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Strollers Present John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt"

Arts & Entertainment

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March 19, 2018

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Board President Jackie Carter said Kielwasser, who passed away in April, was the first Animal Control officer appointed by the Board of Health. 

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Check Out BCB Community Bank's High Rate CDs

March 22, 2018

Get the most out of your savings with BCB Community Bank's high rate CD.

Check out BCB's 18-month CD interest rate of 1.76%.  Invest early and watch your money soar.  For more information, just visit or call your local BCB branch today in Union, Maplewood or South Orange:

Union Branch

2000 Morris Avenue
Union, NJ 07083

Maplewood Branch

156 ...

Winter Storm Update from South Orange

New Jersey and Essex County has announced Emergency Declarations which South Orange will also have in affected March 21, 2018, 9 :00 a.m. Please move all vehicles from the road way to allow for the Department of Public Works (DPW) to clear the roads.

Village Municipal Offices, Library and the Baird Community Center will be closed.
Please see a detailed forecast and more information ...

Storm Advisory from Maplewood

Winter Storm Information – Tuesday, March 20, 2018 – 4:00pm

1) Emergencies – Please call 911 if you have an emergency. You can also call 973-762-1234 for a direct connection to a police dispatcher. Do not call the Fire Department or Public Works. Call the police at 911 or 973-1234.

2) Jitneys – The Maplewood Jitneys will operate ...