BY LINDA BENTLEY | SEPTEMBER 15, 2010
The plight of a self-made citizen
SSA clerk threatens lengthy process ‘may not turn out in your favor’
ST. GEORGE, Utah – I became acquainted with Laszlo Vegvari, 57, a few years ago via e-mails through a mutual friend and, from all indications he’s a conservative, patriotic, American citizen.
A couple of weeks ago, however, Vegvari’s life was turned upside down. He sent out an e-mail to government officials and the media to explain his predicament, along with a plea for assistance.
Vegvari said he recently applied to become a reserve with the Washington County, Utah Sheriff’s Office.
As part of the hiring process, in addition to a very detailed background investigation, Vegvari’s legal status and work eligibility was run through E-Verify.
When the results came back as “Tentative Non-Confirmation,” Vegvari gathered up his Social Security card, driver license, U.S. passport and original naturalization certificate, and headed down to the local Social Security Administration (SSA) office.
According to Vegvari, after performing lengthy research, the SSA clerk told him none of his information could be verified in the system and asked him if he would like to contest the finding, adding, “It will be a long process and may not turn out in your favor.”
The clerk made a point of letting Vegvari know he had broken the law by laminating his Social Security card, which Vegvari said seemed to be her biggest concern.
If the problem at the SSA isn’t straightened out in a timely manner, Vegvari worries he could lose not only the job opportunity with the sheriff’s office but possibly his current job with the state if the SSA reports him as being ineligible to work in the United States.
Vegvari told Sonoran News about how his family immigrated to America, a story not all that different from countless refugees that legally immigrated to this country.
Initially, he and his family escaped from the Soviet/Communist People's Republic of Hungary and settled in West Germany as refugees.
In January 1980, Vegvari filed for American visas, which he said involved “a ton of paperwork, health exams, FBI, CIA and Interpol background investigations.” They were also required to obtain a sponsor in the United States.
After being turned down twice, in November 1982, he and his wife received their “White Cards,” for temporary residency, and their visas.
In December 1982, Vegvari, his wife and a crying four-year old, none of whom spoke a word of English, landed at LAX (Los Angeles Airport) with a suitcase and $100.
He said, “Thanks to our sponsor, we moved into a studio apartment and went to work (and started paying taxes) the next week.”
About six months later they obtained their Green Cards (Permanent Resident Alien) and, after a mandatory five year waiting period, he and his wife applied for U.S. citizenship.
Vegvari said they became American citizens in 1989 and stated, “What a ceremony it was!”
After living in the outskirts of Los Angeles for 15 years, Vegvari and his wife moved to Utah, where he’s worked for the state for more than eight years.
“At this point I’m helpless and do not know where to turn,” said Vegvari, asking, “What else can I provide to prove my citizenship?”
He went on to say, “At the same time I am totally outraged that millions of illegal aliens are floating around in the country, working illegally, committing crimes, voting, taking advantage of the system, rioting and going unpunished. Yet, an American citizen is being denied work because the federal government has dropped the ball somewhere.”
While Vegvari is proud of being a legal immigrant and an American citizen, he feels the government views his citizenship only as a taxpaying contributor to its expansion and inefficiency.