“This has been the most satisfying week I’ve had since I’ve been here.”
—Sen. Lindsey Graham, reacting to the Senate’s passage of the immigration bill
Dear Senator Graham,
I’m delighted to hear that you found your work on behalf of illegal immigrants so satisfying. And who wouldn’t? Tax breaks, billions in new taxpayer-funded benefits, amnesty — you’ve given so much to those who’ve chosen to break America’s laws and work off the books.
But I’m writing today on behalf of an immigrant who hasn’t taken advantage of your largesse towards illegals. He’s not the member of an ethnic minority and he refuses to break our immigration laws. I’m wondering, Sen. Graham, if there’s anything you’d be willing to do for him?
His name is Eugen, he’s from Romania, and believe it or not, the big dream in his life is to go back to his job at a TV repair shop in West Columbia, S.C.
In 1999, Eugen and his wife Alina came to the U.S. after she was recruited to teach science in the South Carolina public school system. The fact that South Carolina has to recruit science teachers from crumbling Eastern European countries known for their lingering, widespread belief in vampires says something significant — and embarrassing — about the state’s education system.
So does the fact that my father can’t find a competent, qualified electronics repairman here in South Carolina, either.
My dad owns Graham’s TV Service and in 2000 he was desperately seeking someone who could fix a camcorder and widescreen TV. After weeks of running want ads across the state and getting no qualified — or even halfway qualified — candidates, my dad found Eugen.
His English was so poor that his wife had to translate most of the job interview. He has a permanent hearing impairment, and he’s Romanian, which, to a guy from Horry County like my dad, meant he was either a Communist or (worse) a Catholic. But desperate times call for desperate measures and Eugen got his chance.
Three years later, when Eugen’s visa was about to expire, my dad called me in a panic. “I’m about to lose the hardest working tech I’ve ever had.”
We spent a year calling and writing every office we could think of, including yours, Senator Graham. Your office has his information right now. But what did you and your amnesty allies do for Eugen?
Nothing. No extensions, no change in visa status. And so they left.
Eugen and Alina did something that millions of other legal immigrants have done. They kept their word. They obeyed the law. And now, they’re waiting, hoping that eventually the red tape will be cut, and they can return to America and to the lawful employers who need them.
If only Eugen were a criminal. If only he were willing to break our immigration laws, then you’d be falling all over yourself to help him.
Take taxes, for example. As an illegal Eugen could have kept all the tax money he’s paid Uncle Sam since 2000. Thanks to you, illegals who’ve been working off the books for 10, 15, or even 20 years only owe three years of back taxes. Better still, they get to pick which three years. Such a deal!
Eugen also made the mistake of paying his Social Security taxes. Unless his status changes, he’ll never see a penny of that money. But if he’d committed Social Security fraud to get his job, your immigration bill would reward him by applying the profits of that fraud towards his future Social Security benefits.
And because Eugen is a skilled worker who earns middle class wages, he won’t qualify for the billions in Earned Income Tax Credit dollars you voted to give illegals entering your amnesty program. If he’s allowed to return, he’ll miss out on the $50 billion a year we taxpayers will be pouring into public services for low-income immigrants on the Sen. Graham immigration plan.
Then there’s the biggest insult of all. Eugen respecting our border and waiting for the right to return, all the while watching millions of others violating our borders and receiving special treatment from politicians like you.
Why, Sen. Graham, should a handicapped Romanian TV repairman have more respect for our laws and our borders than you do?
There are millions of Eugens out there, people in the legal pipeline to come to America, who got the shaft from the U.S. Senate last week. They deserve better than the back of your hand.
So I am writing this letter, Sen. Graham, to ask you to make things right for just one of those forgotten suckers who was dumb enough to obey the law. I’m asking you, publicly and on the record, to pick up the phone and call the folks at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and see if you can’t get Eugen back to West Columbia.
Would that be special treatment? Maybe. But Sen. Graham, are the only immigrants who get special treatment from you the illegal ones?
I look forward to sharing the outcome of Eugen’s case with my readers. Stay cool. Support City Paper. City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.
Stay cool. Support City Paper.
City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.