“Adaptability” was the theme of the Monmouth Vicinage Municipal Division’s Annual April Advance; Immigration Concerns was the key topic as these courts are increasingly challenged with the complex diversity brought about by the ever changing population.
Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes, a managing partner of the preeminent U.S. immigration law firm Wildes & Weinberg, with offices in New York and New Jersey, spoke in-depth on U.S. immigration laws. Mayor Wildes greeted the forum with: “We all come from immigrants, unless we are descendants of the Native American Indians.”
Immigration law is a system of laws passed by Congress and implemented by numerous federal agencies that govern the movement of foreign nationals in the United Sates. It regulates their rights and the grounds for removal, eligibility to visit, and authorization to work in our country. Mayor Wildes described the various types of visas, literally from A to Z, and what would constitute an immigrant versus a non-immigrant and an alien versus an illegal alien.
Anti-discrimination laws and the Immigration Act of 1990 were discussed as they pertain to various grounds for removal or deportation of a non-citizen. With the implementation of the Anti-terrorism Act and the Illegal Immigration Reform, it is now possible that even long term legal residents with family members that are citizens of the United States could be deported as a result of actions taken in the Municipal Courts. The time periods that these individuals could be prohibited from re-entering the United States can vary. For this reason, it is imperative that judges afford all non-citizens the opportunity to consult with counsel prior to appearing for trial or entry of guilty pleas in court.
Clarification regarding the jurisdiction of the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission and the State and local police was discussed. These agencies are not responsible for immigration and should not be primarily pre-occupied with an individual’s legal or residential status; instead, focus should be on the infractions and the corresponding actions that should be taken. The Attorney General’s Initiative has now restricted police officers to investigate those persons who have been arrested and no longer permits review of immigration status as policy. This initiative has offered state-wide uniformity regarding procedure and has resulted in removal of illegal aliens that have posed a threat to our society.
Ethnic and cultural competency and understanding on the part of the municipal courts is essential in dispensing fair and just resolution for all individuals that appear in our courts. For that reason, all the municipal courts should have telephonic interpreting or have access to an interpreter to assist these individuals with their court appearances; sanctions placed on non-citizens should not bear undue burdens, but instead, support our laws, our Mission Statement, and reflect fair and appropriate punishment for each infraction.
Wildes & Weinberg PC, www.wildeslaw.com , has been servicing a distinguished international and domestic corporate and individual clientele for over five decades. Our practice covers all areas of U.S. immigration law, including employment and investment-based immigration, work permits, permanent residence for skilled/managerial/executive/academically-qualified individuals, family-based immigration, religious workers, asylum applicants, etc., including all temporary and permanent-type visas, U.S. citizenship, and employer sanctions/I-9 compliance.
Mayor Wildes, Chairman of the Task Force of the League of Municipalities, serves as Counsel to Lincoln Center and two international/corporate law firms, Pavia & Harcourt and Saiber. In addition, he was a former Federal Prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn (1989-1993), has testified on Capitol Hill in connection with anti-terrorism legislation and is internationally renowned for his successful representation of distinguished individuals and corporate clients. Having represented the United States government in immigration proceedings, Michael Wildes is a frequent participant on professional panels and a commentator on network television and radio with regard to corporate immigration law, employer sanction and compliance work. Michael. Wildes is currently serving his second term as the mayor of Englewood, New Jersey and is a member of New Jersey Governor Corzine’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Immigration. Mayor Wildes is available to address your individual, corporate, or municipal U.S. immigration needs.