NEW YORK – Cypriot musician Renos Efthymiou was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and detained in Detroit, and is being held at the Seneca County Jail (Detroit Field Office) in Ohio.
The National Herald contacted the Seneca County Jail spokesman on March 6, but has not yet received comment on the reasons and the circumstances under which Efthymiou was arrested, as well as the decision of the Immigration Court. Indeed, the spokesman asked for his date of birth and his place of residence in order to obtain information from his file.
The talented percussionist Renos Efthymiou is well-known to the New York City Greek community for his performances in many events presented by the Pancyprian Association, the Pancyprian Choir, as well as many other Greek community organizations in Astoria.
The President of the Pancyprian Association of America and PSEKA President Philip Christopher was one of the first to learn about Efthymiou’s arrest and instructed an immigration lawyer to take on the case and take appropriate action to secure Efthymiou’s release on bail. Indeed, he has already paid the $2,000 required as a retention fee for the judge to decide to release him with a guarantee.
On Monday afternoon, Christopher also sent a letter to the members of the Pancyprian Association and the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations, expressing his sorrow for the arrest of Renos Efthymiou, and inviting the Greek community to participate in a fundraising event they will hold on March 12 to raise money for his release under a guarantee and the recovery of his student visa.
The event will take place at Dionysos Restaurant in Astoria, 23-15 31 Street, and will offer free food and drinks.
“It is very difficult when dealing with the Immigration Service once someone is arrested and detained. Reno had come to study in New York. For economic reasons, he stopped studying, and did not manage to renew his student visa in time and is now paying the price,” Christopher told TNH.
Asked about the circumstances under which he was arrested, he said he had been to Cleveland, Ohio, last week, on the bus returning from Chicago.
ICE agents, as he pointed out, were in the process of identifying and arresting another illegal immigrant they were seeking, and found that Efthymiou had overstayed his visa and he was arrested.
Christopher noted that Efthymiou has no immediate relatives in the United States and that “his family is the Pancyprian Association of America and the Greek-American community.”
TNH discovered that his arrest took place a few days before his 30th birthday. Efthymiou planned to celebrate his birthday with friends on March 9, and on Saturday, March 10, he was scheduled to perform with the orchestra on a Greek Night that was to be held in an Astoria restaurant.
Phytos Stratis, Director of the Pancyprian Choir, said they have worked together many times and noted Efthymiou’s talent, magnanimity, and compassion.
“Reno is a great person and a talented musician and has no place in jail, locked up with criminals. He is a young and sensitive person, who needs the support and love of all of us. I hope the entire Greek community will respond to the Pancyprian invitation and raise the money that will be needed to secure his release and to resolve the visa issue,” Stratis said.