Two Stories Outside Spokane, WA
So many things are happening in immigration matters across the U.S., all seemingly simultaneously, we thought we’d bring you two stories that are unfolding as we write . So, here we go:
Good news, for once.
Homeland Security just approved an additional 30,000 visas for seasonal workers for this year. We’ve been writing about this for years, the lack of visas for seasonal workers has been harming the tourism industry for some time. Tourist destinations have struggled to find workers to cook, clean, clerk, and fill other low-wage jobs during the summer. For businesses that make most of their profits in one season, it’s been debilitating.
Add in the fact that the job market is historically tight, there is greater need than ever for seasonal workers. Good news then, though there still doesn’t appear to be a solution for dairy farmers.
Not a feelgood story.
Zoltan Tamas immigrated, legally, to Florida from Romania in 2011. For years before that he had worked as a seasonal worker at a very high-end resort. He was a seasonal worker. He won the diversity visa lottery in 2011 and moved to West Palm Beach with his wife and young daughter. He got a job as a senior security guard and limo driver. He was licensed to carry a gun. He was promoted in 2013 and made responsible for the security of an exclusive golf club in Jupiter. He continued to do some limo driving for the club’s owners, at their request.
In 2016, he was vetted by the Secret Service, repeatedly, while continuing his duties at the club and in picking up very high profile guests in his limo. Also in 2016, after five years in the U.S., he and his wife and daughter applied for U.S. Citizenship.
That’s where the problem popped up. Zoltan’s background report took forever to be completed, even while his wife and son’s applications were moving smoothly ahead. They became U.S. citizens in 2017 while Zoltan was still waiting.
Zoltan was finally contacted by ICE last June and asked to report to their office to discuss his status. Specifically, why he had “inadmissibly”returned to the U.S. after travelling to Romania on vacation in 2013.
When Zoltan walked into the ICE office he was immediately detained. ICE claimed that he had been convicted in absentia in Romania for fraud. It appears that someone had used his name to make a phony insurance claim. It needs to be noted that Romania is not asking for his extradition, and in any case, Romania is hardly known for the fairness of their judicial system.
Zoltan has been in detention now for 8 months. He has been ordered removed from the country. A date of April 9th has been set. He has not seen his wife and child since he was detained. He was the sole source of income for the family. His daughter has a rare medical condition, if she went to Romania – remember, she is a U.S. citizen – with her father, as her mother has said they would, her chances of survival worsen considerably considering the the medical care available to her there.
Many character witness have come forward for Zoltan. The owners of the club he worked for, however, have thus far said nothing. If you haven’t guessed by now, that would be the Trump family.
Zoltan is caught up in the Trump administration’s broadening of the “scope of offenses that can lead to removal . . . and the president has emphasized criminal behavior of various kinds as justification for deportation,” as the New York Times points out.
The Times could not get a comment out of the White House or the Trump Organization that Zoltan worked so hard for.