A former driver for the Trump family has been held in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility for the past eight months as he fights to remain with his family in the United States.
Zoltan Tamas, 38, of Romania previously worked as a driver for the Trump family and the president’s campaign staff during the 2016 election, according to The New York Times. At the time, Tamas had reportedly been a green card holder since legally immigrating to the country from Romania in 2011.
However, Tamas was arrested by immigration authorities after he applied for U.S. citizenship in 2016 and was discovered to have had been convicted in absentia of committing insurance fraud in Romania following a background check, according to the Times.
Tamas’s wife, Alina Rogozan, told the Times that she believes the crime may have occurred when one of his friends used his name to make fake claims to an auto insurer. However, Tamas’s lawyer told the paper that the Romanian government never lodged an extradition claim for the crime.
In detention for the past eight months, Tamas has reportedly been unable to see his wife, their 11-year-old son or their 8-year-old daughter, who has been diagnosed with a congenital heart disease.
Several months ago, a judge reportedly ordered Tamas to be deported. His lawyer has since filed a motion seeking to reopen the case with the Board of Immigration Appeals, which previously upheld the court’s deportation order, according to the Times.
His lawyer has also reportedly filed a petition for review of the case before a federal appeals court. Each of the appeals are reportedly pending.
The Trump administration has pushed tougher immigration enforcement actions, including broadening the scope of offenses that can result in deportation.
Rogozan said she would follow her husband to Romania but told the Times that without access to medical care in the U.S., her daughter’s odds of surviving with the congenital heart disease are slim.
“It would be signing her death sentence to return to Romania,” she said. “That is why we are fighting.”