Colleague in Need – Atanas Entchev facing deportation

Update: The GIS community has come out in support of Atanas and his family. Calls for letters of support have spread across Twitter and has been picked up by several other blogs:

Despite this, the Entchev’s future in the US remains uncertain. If you have written a letter of support, thank you. Please write one if you are able.


Atanas Entchev, a familiar face to many on Twitter and throughout the GIS circles in the Northeast is currently facing deportation to Bulgaria. After emigrating here with his family over twenty years ago to escape political persecution, the US Government is now planning to deport the Entchevs. Atanas, his wife and his two children have been living in Central New Jersey and integrated into the local community. He has been involved with GIS in New Jersey for years, having worked in government at the Department of Environmental Protection and at several firms before starting Entchev GIS Architects back in 2005.

Last week, I received an email from Mayia, his wife, asking for letters of support as he is facing deportation. Mayia’s email is as follows:

I am writing you on behalf of my husband, Atanas Entchev, and our family. As you may know, Atanas and I emigrated to the U.S. from Bulgaria 20 years ago. Today, our immigration case is at a crossroads, and it is pertinent that we obtain letters of recommendation from the community. I am reaching out to you because you have been a colleague, client, or valued business contact of Atanas’. I am hoping you may be able to write a letter of recommendation for him. Time is of the essence, and it it crucial that we gather these letters as soon as possible, by today would be best.

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.
Please include your name, signature, address and phone number

Best would be if you can email the letters to:
mentcheva@hotmail.com & ericmarkesq@gmail.com
If not possible please fax to (201) 262-7640.

If you would like to get in touch with me, my contact information is listed below.

Thank you very much in advance, you help is greatly appreciated by our family.

Best,
Mayia Entcheva

I have known Atanas for several years now and I consider him a friend. While I knew he was not originally from here, I never thought of him as an immigrant. He is – in my mind – a fellow US citizen and outstanding professional colleague. He’s not a Bulgarian; he’s a New Jerseyan –  which is far different from what you see on TV.

If you have worked with Atanas, please take a few minutes to write a letter stating your support. These letters will be incredibly helpful to him and his family. Please send any letters to the email addresses or fax number above. If using email and if you have access to a scanner, they should be signed with your signature. I’m including below my letter of support for you to use as a guide.

To whom it may concern:

I am writing this letter of support on behalf of Atanas Entchev and his family. I have known Atanas for five years and have worked with him on a series of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) projects within the New Jersey. These projects have included consulting work for private firms and local governments, as well as community engagement projects that work to involve and engage individuals in our profession. Atanas is well respected within the geospatial community within New Jersey and nationally, through his involvement on the Web and through social media and his work with local and regional conferences. Atanas is a knowledgeable, personable and approachable, always available for collaboration on projects. He has built his own GIS consulting firm out of his own sweat and technical knowledge into an established brand.

I have also worked with his daughter, Christina, on a few projects related to local political causes and social outreach in Middlesex County. The entire Entchev family is a warm, welcoming group and I would be glad to call them my neighbors. I hold Atanas and his family in high regard and would be more than welcome to answer any other questions you may have.

Yours,
John Reiser

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