Zoltan Tamas, a 38-year-old Romanian immigrant who came to the United States legally eight years ago as part of the immigration lottery system, has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since June of 2018.
Tamas had been attempting to gain full citizenship, like his wife and the rest of his immediate family had done, when his background check revealed he was convicted of insurance fraud in absentia in his home country. The discovery prompted ICE to detain him, and an immigration judge later ruled he should be deported, despite Tamas having no criminal record in the U.S.
Tamas’s lawyer is currently appealing that decision to a federal court, hoping to get it overturned.
What makes his case unique is that this individual is not your typical person to be burdened by the aggressive immigration policies of President Donald Trump. Tamas, it turns out, was a former chauffeur to Trump and his family, per reporting from the New York Times.
After years of serving as the Trump family's personal driver, Zoltan Tamas has been in ICE custody for eight months.https://t.co/CawS58iPQ8
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 29, 2019
Beyond being a former employee of Trump’s who now happens to be caught up in the trappings of the immigration system, Tamas was also an employee who stuck up for Trump as he ran for president, according to accounts from his wife, Alina Rogozan.
“They’re not what you see on TV,” Tamas would often say, according to Rogozan.
Rogozan says she has not seen her husband since his detention more than eight months ago, per reporting from Splinter.
Tamas was a hard worker, she added, who was happy with his job working for the Trumps, especially since it provided his family with health insurance, particularly for his daughter who was born with a heart defect.
“He worked crazy hours. We knew when he was leaving, but never knew when he was coming back,” Rogozan explained. “But he was happy to have work and health insurance for his daughter.”
If he’s deported, Rogozan said she and their children would likely follow their father back to Romania to avoid being split up. But the move could have dire consequences for their daughter’s health — she likely wouldn’t be able to receive the same medical care in her father’s home country that she currently receives in America.
“It would be signing her death sentence to return to Romania,” Rogozan said. “That is why we are fighting.”