Daily Archives: August 8, 2011

Crime Scene Middletown: Busy 5 Days For Middletown Police Numerous DWI’s and Summertime Juvenile Arrests For The Week 3rd – August 7th, 2011

WRITTEN BY MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT

ISSUED Tuesday, August 8th, 2011 – Arrests do not indicate convictions

On August 7, 2011 at approximately 12:25 am Patrolman Christian Clark responded to the Comfort Inn parking lot in reference to an accident involving a parked car. Upon arrival Officer Clark found the driver of a vehicle, identified as Robert Waters, age 51, from Heron Avenue in Pennsville, NJ, asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle which had struck a parked car.

Officer Clark conducted an investigation which resulted in Waters being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and Reckless Driving. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 7, 2011 at approximately 1:25 am Sgt. John Werner was on patrol in the area of Leonardville Road when he observed a vehicle travelling in front of him that was weaving in and out of its lane. Sgt. Werner stopped the vehicle and approached the driver, identified as a 17 year old male juvenile from Manymind Avenue in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, at which point he detected an odor of raw Marijuana coming from the vehicle.

Sgt. Werner conducted an investigation and located Marijuana and a grinder, a device used to process Marijuana, inside the vehicle. The officer continued his investigation which resulted in the 17 year old juvenile being arrested for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released to his mother pending a court date.


On August 7, 2011 at approximately 3:45 am Corporal Ralph Flannigan was on patrol in the area of Middletown Lincroft Road when he observed a vehicle travelling on the wrong side of the road. Officer Flannigan stopped the vehicle and approached the driver, identified as Jose Perez, age 42, from Altamont Road in Edison, NJ, and determined that he had been drinking.

Officer Flannigan continued his investigation which resulted in Perez being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and Careless Driving. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 6, 2011 at approximately 3:45 am Patrolman James Beirne and Patrolman Albert Scott responded to the WAWA store in reference to a report of two suspicious people in the parking lot. Upon arrival the officers located the subjects standing near a vehicle. The officers approached the two subjects and conducted an investigation.

The officers determined that there was an outstanding Non-Support warrant issued by the Monmouth County Superior Court for one of the subjects, identified as Gregory Guido, age 49, from Bray Avenue in Middletown. The officers placed Guido under arrest.

While conducting the investigation, the second subject, identified as Lynn Moretti, age 39, from Ocean Avenue in Middletown, NJ, began to yell obscenities at the officers. After she refused to calm down the officers placed her under arrest for Disorderly Conduct. Both subjects were transported to police headquarters for processing.

Moretti was released pending a court date and Guido was held on $67,673.01 bail.

On August 6, 2011 at approximately 8:50 pm Patrolman Ian May responded to the Foodtown Store in reference to a report of a shoplifter. Upon arrival Officer May was advised by the store manager that he had observed the suspect, identified as James Quirk, age 53, from Pineview Avenue in Keansburg, NJ, place a bottle of Vodka and a can of beer inside a backpack and walk out of the store. The manager stopped Quirk and detained him until the police arrived.

Patrolman May arrested Quirk for Shoplifting and transported him to police headquarters for processing. While at headquarters Officer May located an outstanding Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Court for Quirk’s arrest. He was processed and released after posting $250.00 bail.

On August 6, 2011 at approximately 7:35 am Patrolman Christian Clark was on patrol in the area of Highway 35 near Navesink River Road when he observed a vehicle make an illegal turn through the barrier. Officer Clark stopped the vehicle and approached the driver, identified as Christopher Hordeman, age 24, from Manfre Court in Freehold, NJ, at which point he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath.

Officer Clark conducted an investigation which resulted in Hordeman being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 6, 2011 at approximately 11:00 pm Patrolman Felipe Benedit responded to the area of McClees Road in reference to a report of a motor vehicle accident involving a car that crashed into a utility police. Upon arrival Officer Benedit located the driver, identified as Candace Ronan, age 22, from Willis Place in Red Bank, NJ, at which point he suspected she may have been operating her vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The officer continued his investigation which resulted in Ronan being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and Reckless Driving. She was transported to police headquarters where she was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 5, 2011 at approximately 9:10 pm Patrolman Christian Clark was on patrol in the area of Highway 36 in the Navesink section of Middletown when he observed a vehicle pull out of the A&P Shopping Center and begin travelling westbound in the eastbound lanes of traffic. The officer observed the vehicle almost strike another car head on.

Officer Clark was able to stop the vehicle near Valley Drive and approached the driver, identified as Eileen Gaestel, age 56, from East Avenue in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, at which point he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from her breath.

Officer Clark continued his investigation which resulted in Gaestel being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated. She was transported to police headquarters where she was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 5, 2011 at approximately 1:45 am Patrolman Thomas Meckier responded to a motor vehicle accident on Murphy Road. Upon arrival the officer located a vehicle lying on its side. The officer located the driver, identified as Robert Brandow, age 20, from Kenneth Terrace East in Middletown, NJ, inside the vehicle at which point he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath.

Officer Meckier conducted an investigation which resulted in Brandow being arrested Driving While Intoxicated, Reckless Driving and Possession of Alcohol Underage. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 5, 2011 at approximately 12:30 am Patrolman Raymond Sofield conducted a motor vehicle stop on Delaware Avenue during which he arrested Joseph Defiglia, age 33, from Delaware Avenue in Middletown, NJ, on a warrant for Robbery which was issued after an incident that occurred at the Sears Store located on Highway 35 on July 29, 2011.

Police say Defiglia had entered the Sears store, loaded a shopping cart full of merchandize and then attempted to leave the store without paying. Store security tried to stop Defiglia at which point he pushed the shopping cart into the security officer causing a minor injury to his ribs and then fled the area.

Defiglia was charged with Robbery and Shoplifting. He was held pending bail.

On August 5, 2011 at approximately 9:50 am Patrolman Jason Caruso and Patrolman Donald Coates of the Quality of Life Unit and Detective Lieutenant Stephen Dollinger conducted an investigation into the alleged sale of narcotics from a residence on Birchwood Lane.

The investigation resulted in the arrest of Jesse Ballard, age 20, from Birchwood Lane in Middletown, NJ, for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana after police conducted a consent to search in his room at the residence.

Ballard was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 4, 2011 at approximately 8:20 pm Police Officer Lisa Vreeland responded to the Stafford Tire Store located on Highway 35 in reference to a report of trespassers. Upon arrival the officer located two juveniles sitting in a boat located on the property.

Officer Vreeland conducted an investigation which resulted in the arrests of two 16 year old male juveniles, both from Middletown, for Defiant Trespass. Both subjects were transported to police headquarters for processing and were released to their guardians pending a court date.

On August 4, 2011 at approximately 7:00 pm Patrolman Jason Caruso and Patrolman Donald Coates of the Quality of Life Unit were on patrol in the area of McMahon Park when they observed a vehicle parked near the hockey rink. The officers approached the vehicle at which point they observed one of the occupants, identified as Tara Maier, age 18, from Washington Avenue in Keansburg, NJ, attempt to place a Marijuana grinder, a device used to process Marijuana for smoking, inside the waistband of her pants. The officers also observed Marijuana in a door compartment in plain view.

The officers continued their investigation which resulted in the arrests of Maier and Nicole-Lynn Souza, age 28, from Pineview Avenue in Keansburg, NJ, for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Both subjects were transported to police headquarters where they were processed and released pending a court date.

On August 4, 2011 at approximately 9:30 pm Patrolman Donald Coates and Patrolman Jason Caruso of the Quality of Life Unit were on patrol in the area of Church Street in Belford when they observed an occupant of a vehicle throw a cigarette out the window. The officers conducted a motor vehicle stop and approached the vehicle at which point they detected an odor of burnt Marijuana coming from inside the car.

The officers conducted an investigation which resulted in the driver, identified as Justin Damico, age 19, from Evergreen Street in Spotswood, NJ, being arrested for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was transported to police headquarters for processing and was issued an additonal summons for littering. He was released pending a court date.

On August 4, 2011 at approximately 3:10 am Patrolman Robert Shannon responded to the area of West Front Street in reference to a report of a motor vehicle accident during which a vehicle rolled over and struck a utility pole. Upon arrival the officer located the driver, identified as James Steele, age 26, from Walling Avenue in Belford, NJ, sitting on the ground. The officer approached Steele at which point he detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath.

The officer conducted an investigation which resulted in Steele being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and Reckless Driving. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 4, 2011 at approximately 2:10 am Patrolman Richard Fulham was on patrol in the area of Highway 36 when he observed a vehicle weaving in its lane and failing to signal a turn. The officer conducted a motor vehicle stop and approached the driver, identified as Samson Hearn, age 29, from Maple Avenue in Fair Haven, NJ, at which point he detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath.

The officer conducted an investigation which resulted in Hearn being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and Reckless Driving. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 3, 2011 at approximately 7:05 pm Patrolman Michael Pintilie and Patrolman Anthony Dellatacoma responded to a report of a shoplifting at the Staples Store located on Highway 35. While in route to the store a description of the vehicle used in the shoplifting was given out to responding officers. Officer Dellatacoma spotted the vehicle on Palmer Avenue and conducted a motor vehicle stop.

The officers conducted an investigation which resulted in the driver of the car, identified as Tracy Kiernan, age 31, from Avenue A in Keansburg, NJ, being arrested for Shoplifting. The officers continued their investigation and discovered the vehicle contained merchandise that was also stolen from a store in Holmdel and Suboxene Pills which the suspect did not have a prescription for.

Kiernan was transported to police headquarters where she was charged with Shoplifting and Unlawful Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug. She was held on $1,500.00 bail with no 10% option set by Judge Richard Thompson.

On August 3, 2011 at approximately 4:35 PM Patrolman Donald Coates and Patrolman Jason Caruso of the Quality of Life Unit were on patrol in the area of the McMahon Park Hockey Ring when they observed a subject sitting in one of the dug-outs.

The officers approached the subject, identified as a 17 year old male juvenile from Morningside Avenue in Keansburg, NJ, and observed Marijuana on his lap. The officers arrested the juvenile and transported him to police headquarters where he was charged with Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 3, 2011 at approximately 4:50 am Patrolman James Beirne and Patrolman Richard Fulham were on patrol in the area of the 7-11 store located on Highway 35 when he stopped a vehicle for having a rear light out. The officers approached the vehicle at which point they observed a clear plastic baggie containing Marijuana on the rear floor in plain view.

The officers conducted an investigation which resulted in Armand Lecomte, age 24, from Wickersham Lane in Austin, Texas, being arrested for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana. He was processed and released pending a court date.

On August 2, 2011 at approximately 1:45 pm Patrolman Keith Hirschbein was on patrol in the area of the Henry Hudson Trail when he observed a group of juveniles sitting on a bench. The officer walked towards the group at which point he observed one of the juveniles, identified as a 17 year old male from Hudson Avenue in Middletown, NJ, attempt to hide a bottle of Vodka and a clear plastic baggie containing Marijuana under a table.

Officer Hirscbein retrieved the bag and conducted an investigation which resulted in the juvenile being arrested Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana and Underage Possession of Alcohol. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released to his mother pending a court date.

On August 2, 2011 at approximately 3:50 am Patrolman John Soltysik and Patrolman David Crenshaw responded to the area of Seabreeze Avenue in reference to a report of a disturbance. Upon arrival the officers were conducting an investigation when one of the suspects, identified as Luis Ramirez, age 44, from Seabreeze Avenue in Middletown, NJ, began to yell and scream. The officers issued numerous warnings to Ramirez to calm down.

The officers continued their investigation and determined there were numerous outstanding Contempt of Court warrants from various municipal courts for Ramirez’s arrest. The officers attempted to place him under arrest at which point he began to fight with the officers and spit on them. The officers were able to take him into custody after a brief struggle.

Ramirez was transported to police headquarters where he was charged with Aggravated Assault on Police Officers, Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, Obstructing the Administration of Law, Throwing Bodily Fluids at a Law Enforcement Officer, Terroristic Threats and Contempt of Court. He was being held on $25,000.00 with no 10% option.

The Middletown Police Department reports the arrests of the following subjects for various offenses:

Roberto Ramirez, age 27, arrested on August 3, 2011 by Patrolman Darrin Simon on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $300.00 bail.

Lindsey Nadolny, age 22, from Main Street in Belford, NJ, arrested on August 2, 2011 by Patrolman Thomas Russo on a Contempt of Court warrant. She was released after posting $89.00 bail.

Rashon Martin, age 22, from Brainard Avenue in Port Monmouth, NJ, arrested on August 2, 2011 by Patrolman Keith Hirschbein on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $689.00 bail.

On August 2, 2011 Patrolman Brian Dilworth arrested a 16 year old from Valley Drive in Navesink, NJ, for Simple Assault and Resisting Arrest. She was released pending a court date.

Vincent Marchese, age 26, from Ocean Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested on August 3, 2011 by Patrolman Frank Mazza for Simple Assault. He was released pending a court date.

On August 3, 2011 Patrolman Joseph Alhemeyer arrested a 17 year old female from Michael Drive in Middletown for Simple Assault. She was released pending a court date.

On August 3, 2011 Patrolman Frank Mazza arrested a 16 year old female from Locust Terrace in Middletown for Obstructing the Administration of Law and Disorderly Conduct.

Lynn Moretti, age 39, from Ocean Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested on August 3, 2011 by Patrolman Stephen Keller for Simple Assault. She was released pending a court date.

Timothy Perkins, age 52, from Bay Avenue in Leonardo, NJ, arrested on August 4, 2011 by Patrolman Carl Roth on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $1,000.00 bail.

Wallace Baynes, age 59, from Prospect Avenue in Navesink, NJ, arrested on August 4, 2011 by Patrolman Charles Higgins on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $1,000.00 bail.

Elliot Gonzalez, age 31, from Millstone Road in Somerset, NJ, arrested on August 4, 2011 by Patrolman Frank Mazza on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the New Brunswick Municipal Court. He was released after posting $500.00 bail.

Joseph Yannibelli, age 34, from Day Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested on August 7, 2011 by Patrolman James Beirne on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Little Egg Harbor Municipal Court. He was held on $500.00 bail.

David Isaksen, age 35, from Leonard Avenue in Leonardo, NJ, arrested on August 7, 2011 by Patrolman Keith Hirschbein on a Contempt of Court warrant out of Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $1062.00 bail.

Wayne Carhart, age 32, from Harmony Road in Middletown, NJ, arrested on August 6, 2011 by Sgt. William Colangelo on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $1,000.00 bail.

Andrea Guttadauro, age 25, from Tatum Drive in Middletown, NJ, arrested on August 5, 2011 by Patrolman John Soltysik on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. She was released after posting $250.00 bail.

Nicholas Sipsis, age 20, from Campbell Avenue in Port Monmouth, NJ, arrested by Patrolman Donald Coates and Patrolman Jason Caruso of the Quality of Life Unit on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $750.00 bail

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Roberto Ramirez, age 41, from Seabreeze Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested on August 5, 2011 by Patrolman Keith Hirschbein on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Newark Municipal Court. He was released on his own recognizance pending a court date.

Joseph Hughes, age 19, from Oak Street in Keansburg, NJ, arrested on August 5, 2011 by Patrolman Keith Hirschbein on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released on his own recognizance pending a court date.

Dana Glisson, age 30, from 11th Avenue in Neptune, NJ, arrested on August 5, 2011 by Patrolman Kevin Gardiner on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. She was released after posting $1,000.00 bail.

John Moran, age 42, from Clubhouse Drive in Middletown, NJ, arrested on August 8, 2011 by Patrolman Michael Reuter for Simple Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Handgun and Unlawful Possession of Armor Piercing Bullets. He was held on $29,500.00 bail with no 10% option set by Judge Richard Thompson.

Cliff Desiderio, age 36, from Clubhouse Drive in Middletown, NJ, arrested on August 7, 2011 by Patrolman John Mele on two Contempt of Court warrants issued by the Keansburg Municipal Court. He was released after posting $235.00 bail.

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Filed under arrest warrants, Crime Scene Middletown, drug paraphernalia, drug possession, DWI, Marijuana, Middletown Police, reckless driving, shoplifting, underage drinking

Letting The Sunshine In; Two Recent Rulings That Middletown Should Heed

Two recent rulings on aspects of the sunshine law by judges last week are interesting because these rulings indirectly deals with Tony Fiore’s statement that Township officials discuss meeting agenda items before scheduled public meetings.




John Paff, if you have not heard of him, is a Libertarian that challanges towns in NJ to verify that they are following Open Public Meetings Act and fulfilling OPRA requests correctly. He has won many lawsuits forcing towns to comply with the law.

In two press releases issued last week Mr. Paff discusses the outcomes of each:

Burlco Prosecutor: Evesham official “unwittingly” violated Sunshine Act

In an August 4, 2011 letter to the attorney for the Eveham Township Council, Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi said that “Evesham Township officials did unwittingly run afoul of the prohibitions contained in the Open Public Meetings Act” by discussing public business by way of e-mail communications. Prosecutor Bernardi, however, declined to impose fines against the officials because that it was a not a “knowing” violation and that “educating public officials who may have mistakenly violated the provisions of the statute is far more effective than the imposition of nominal fines.”

The prosecutor’s letter, which is on-line here, http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2011216TS//b10804BurlcoProsEvesham.pdf was sent in response to a complaint filed by the New Jersey Libertarian Party’s Open Government Advocacy Project.

Bergen Judge orders officials to stop using personal e-mail accounts



In an August 4, 2011 decision, Bergen County Superior Assignment Court Judge Peter E. Doyne considered, among other issues, the question of public officials using private e-mails to discuss public business. Judge Doyne ultimately concluded that using personal e-mail accounts for public business “appears highly questionable” and “order[ed] counsel for [the municipality] to circulate a memorandum among all pertinent Borough employees directing they use only their public e-mail accounts, rather than private accounts, when conducting town business.”

This is the first such holding of which I’m aware and it may be useful in convincing other government officials to sent official e-mail communications solely through their governmental e-mail accounts. Judge Doyne’s decision is on-line here. http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2011216T8//DoyneWoodcliffLake.pdf

Many thanks to Kevin M. O’Brien, who filed and prosecuted this lawsuit without the aid of an attorney.

Tony Fiore and others on the Township Committee should take heed in these two rulings and make sure that when there are communications between Township Committee members and others in the administration, that they use their official township email addresses to do so. In this way they ensure that a record of their conversations are accessible to the public
Private correspondences between officials to discuss Township business, knowingly or unknowingly is a violation of the sunshine law, but more importantly is a violation of the public’s trust.

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Filed under Bergen County, Burlington County, John Paff, Libertarian, Middletown Township Committee, open public meetings act, OPRA, sunshine laws

Public Discussion, Why Would We Want To Do That?

Anyone who has been to a Middletown Township Committee meeting this past year has noticed a marked difference between meetings held this year and meetings from the past 4 years,the difference being the length of meeting, or how long the the meeting took to end.

This year,Township Committee meetings (the typical business portion, after all the pomp and circumstance) are typically over in a hour or less. While in the past (when Democrats Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes were seated) Township meetings lasted a couple of hours.

The reason for this dramatic change in meeting times has become very evident over the past 8 months, agenda items listed as up for discussion are very seldom if ever discussed during these public meetings and Committee members have nothing to say to the public during “comments”.

In the past, Patrick Short and Sean Byrnes made it a point discuss items on the agenda during public meetings and because of their practice of informing residents through the discussion of agenda items, they were attacked by the majority for being “unprepared” and not reading through their meeting packets, which was never the case. To the contrary, Short and Byrnes were well prepared to discuss items in the public forum and were chastised for it.

So now, during the last Middletown Workshop meeting when resident Donna Kuntz stated that she was there to here what the Committee had to say about “easements”, which was Discussion item “B” on the night’s agenda, and wanted to know why nothing on the Discussion Item list was discussed, our acting mayor, Tony Fiore, basically stated there was no need to discuss items in a public forum. Committee members, if they have a question after receiving the meeting packets on the Friday before a meeting, call each other or the Township Administrator for clarification.

Listen to the audio:

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

As long as a quorum is not present, this type of behavior by elected officials is not in violation of any sunshine laws, but it is a rather dubious practice that keeps the sunshine from shining on those that administer the town. Any time you limit the input or knowledge of residents into how their town is run, is a direct attempt to limit the transparency of government and is a troubling practice to engage in and Middletown seems to do a lot of it.
You can read about this and other news from the last workshop meeting by reading the “It’s Your Town” newsletter, its the next best thing to actually attending the meeting.

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Filed under committee agenda, discussion items, Middletown Township Committee, sunshine laws, Tony Fiore, transparency, workshop meeting

It’s Your Town – Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 16- 8/1/11

This edition of It’s Your Town newsletter covers the Middletown Township Committee Workshop meeting that was held on Monday, August 1, 2011 .

There were only a few resolutions voted on and 11 items on the agenda for discussion. However, most of the discussion items were not discussed. When a resident asked about the lack of discussion a very interesting response was given.
Tony Fiore, Middletown’s acting mayor, said that there was no need to discuss agenda items in public because members of the Township Committee members receive their meeting packets on the Friday before every meeting. If a question arises, a Committee member will call a fellow Committee member, Township Administrator or someone else for clarification prior the public meeting, hence no need for discussions in public.
While this practice of Township Committee people calling others for clarification and information pertaining to items in meeting packets prior to open discussion of an item it not technically a violation existing sunshine laws, it is an extremely questionable practice that limits information being disseminated to the public by open and transparent means.
Read the newsletter for yourself, it’s all covered here in this issue.

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Filed under Its Your Town, Middletown Township Committee, Newsletter, open government, resolutions and ordinances, sunshine laws, Tony Fiore, transparency, workshop meeting

New Rule Severely Restricts US Visas for Families of Americans Abroad

I received the information below from a friend of mine who has been living and working overseas for a number of years now and is concerned about the new policy towards immigration affecting a number of ex-patriates who may have been married and had children while living out of the country. The new rules will restrict those seeking to return to the U.S. with family members who were not natural born citizens.

So for those that have loved ones working and living overseas or may be thinking about it, this information may be of interest to them.

A major procedural shift announced as a Rule Change by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to the alien relative visa request form (I-130) to promote “efficiency and flexibility” is set to have a devastating effect on the Americans in 172 countries who want to move home now or at any time in the future with their non-American family members.

FACT SHEET

Before the Rule Change, an Efficient Process with Face-to-Face Assistance

• Each year, 16,000 Americans abroad submit Form I-130 to move back to the US with their families, and most go to the nearest US Consulate.

• As of August 15th, Form I-130 cannot be submitted at US Consulates. Americans in 172 countries will only be able to conduct the process by mail, through the USCIS Chicago Lockbox.

• Americans abroad may not cross borders to the closest USCIS field office to submit the form.

After the Rule Change, Overseas Americans Forced into a Long-distance Process

• Prolonged approvals will result, from 1-3 months to 1-3 years, likely separating families from the start to the visa interview.

• During the approval process, separated family members will not be allowed to visit the US. Form I-130 becomes evidence against visitor visas, and all non-American family members will be subject to greater scrutiny due to this Rule Change.

• American families will be separated for years due to the Rule Change.

• Documents and evidence will be sent internationally rather than handled in-country. Notices, including key deadlines, will be sent by international mail, subject to theft and erratic service –delays may result in automatic rejections.

• American citizens will be forced to decide between waiting years and abandoning their families. Only long-distance interaction with government officials will decide to grant a visa interview. Consular officials will no longer be involved.

• Fee payment (Checks or money orders only) must be drawn on a US bank or financial institution.

• Arbitrary and discriminatory effect on American families, due to where they live. An estimated 10,000 Americans each year will be hurt by the Rule Change.

USCIS Fails to Provide Fair and Forthright Notice of the Rule Change

• The USCIS calls this a simple “form change” to promote “efficiency and flexibility” for the agency. For American citizens living abroad, the door to the US will be shut, and it will happen without notice.

• The USCIS did not attempt to evaluate the impact on American families abroad. The rule can still be suspended for study, but the USCIS proceeds without regard for the consequences.

• The USCIS & STATE DEPT deliberately chose not to warn Americans who obtain the form prior to August 15th. As of August 1st, the State Department has not issued any notice that Consular officials will no longer deal with these requests.

• The Rule Change does not save money for anyone. All expenses for immigrant and non-immigrant visa processing are mandated by law to be covered by the fees charged. The fees to begin the process are more than $400, and more fees are required to continue. Secure international mailings will increase the cost of each submission by hundreds of dollars.

• The USCIS inaccurately describes the process as a benefit to Americans abroad, because local mail services substitute for traveling short distances for face-to-face assistance.

For more information, IMMIGRATION@democratsabroad.org and visit the
Democrats Abroad Immigration Group’s Webpage

Rule Citation: http://www.democratsabroad.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=94067&qid=13103968
DHS Docket No. USCIS–2011–0002 — Federal Register, Vol.76,No. 95,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011, Page 28303

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Filed under alien relatives, american families, democrats abroad, expatriates, immigration policy, rule changes, us citizenship, visas