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Support Atanas Entchev

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UPDATE: Atanas’ daughter, Christina, is now using his Twitter account to get information out. In addition, she posted a message from Atanas on his blog. He and his son are currently being detained. Also, please see the comment stream to John’s post (link below) for additional information about sending letters of support. Letters that are not signed may no be considered so, if sending an e-mail, be sure to send a signed, scanned copy as an attachment.


John Reiser posted this piece on the situation of our colleague, Atanas Entchev. Atanas, a native of Bulgaria, came to the United States in 1991, followed soon thereafter by his family. They applied for asylum and have been in litigation regarding their status ever since. The latest opinion, filed on June 23, 2011 by the US Third Circuit Court of Appeals may be found here (.pdf). Says John:

After emigrating here with his family over twenty years ago to escape political persecution, the US Government is now planning to deport the Entchevs.

My dealings with Atanas have been almost exclusively through social media channels and I have never met him in person. Despite that, I feel I know him as a result of his open participation in those arenas. His knowledge of the applications of GIS, especially at the municipal level, is top-notch. His contributions to the GIS community, such as the publications listed in his LinkedIn profile, as well as his contributions to Directions Magazine and his blog demonstrate active engagement in his (our) professional community. He is also a small business owner, having founded his own GIS services company in 2005.

Of course, legal opinions are only meant to focus on relevant law. As a result, this tapestry of the Entchevs life in America becomes obscured. At one point, the opinion says (LPR = Legal Permanent Resident):

Although the daughter’s adjustment to LPR status may slightly strengthen Entchev’s ties to the community, and as a matter of discretion the Department of State may therefore be more inclined to grant a waiver, it is far from clear that the status of Entchev’s daughter as an LPR would result in a different outcome for a new waiver application.

Not being a lawyer, I can’t comment on the legal content but this is a very sterile reduction of the Entchevs’ life. Those of us who have been linked to Atanas through social media know of his love of sailing, tennis and biking and have seen photos of the Entchevs enjoying the arts around the New York region. So, during two decades of litigation, the legal merits of which have left the Third Circuit Court of Appeals unmoved, the Entchevs have built a rich, textured, wholly American life.

As Atanas’s wife Mayia says:

If you are willing and able to write a letter of recommendation, your contribution will be invaluable to our case, and would be greatly appreciated by our family.

If you know Atanas, please take time to write a letter in support of him and his family. Instructions are in John’s post.

Please also see posts from James Fee, Randal Hale and Caitlin Dempsey.

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