PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas Raptakis joined with Minnesota Senate President Sandy Pappas in asking their respective delegations in the U.S. Congress to take action in response to the ongoing Greek crisis.
Raptakis shared with TNH that “with youth unemployment rates in the country at a staggering 50%, the legislators are asking federal officials to raise the quota limit to allow more Greeks to enter the United States as their nation’s economy has gone into a free-fall.
Both Senators said that by allowing Greek nationals with solid, marketable job skills to come into the United States to put their talents to work, the U.S. government would be providing an important lifeline to Greece.
“‘While the financial meltdown in Greece has been in the news of late, the horrible economic conditions and youth unemployment rates have become a disturbing way of life for a generation of young Greeks,’ said Raptakis. ‘We have a chance here to take a basic step that will help provide some measure of relief to a country which has been a strong ally of the United States for many decades.’
“Pappas [who was featured in the Feb. 7, 2014 issue of TNH, “Messenia to
Minnesota: Sen. Pappas Talks to TNH”] added, ‘this crisis has taken a terrible toll on the aspirations of educated, young Greeks who cannot find work and have little hope for the future. This would be a gesture of good will that will demonstrate to a new generation of Greek citizens that the United States is in their corner and willing to help in a time of need.’
“Both Raptakis and Pappas pointed to the support America provided Greece in the years following World War II as a model for taking action here. While the United States cannot fix the Greek economy, it can help provide an avenue of opportunity for young Greek citizens at this time of extreme crisis.
“‘By allowing educated Greeks with strong job skills to come to the US, we can actually allow young people to put their job skills to work as engineers, doctors, and in a range of professional fields,’ the senators said. ‘The sad reality is that right now, many of those talented people are languishing in unemployment or toiling in low-end jobs that have nothing to do with their skills.’