Fresno Valedictorian Deportation

June 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Arthur Mkoyan's parents brought him to this country when he was just four years old. But now, 13 years later the Federal Government has denied their request for asylum and ordered the family to leave.Arthur, who's 17, is about to graduate from Fresno's Bullard High School where he's been a straight "A" student, and class Valedictorian.

His mother Asmik Mkoian says her son doesn't deserve to be deported. "This is not fair to my son. Because it wasn't his fault to come here. We brought him here and I'm trying to figure this out how to help him. He's my first priority right now, and hopefully something will come up."

That something is likely to be a private bill, to be introduced by California Senator Dianne Feinstein. Congressman George Radanovich says he asked the Senator to intervene, to buy the family more time. He says, "It doesn't erase anything but by the submission of the bill it puts a stay on the deportation date of June 20th so it gives us a little bit of time to sort through these things, and find out if there's anything that can be done for this family."

After meeting with staff members from the congressman's office, Arthur says he's feeling better about his chances of staying here. He says," I feel good. I feel really happy they wanted to meet with us, and we just discussed what's going on about now and they are going to help us as much as they can."

The trouble is the courts have already rejected the family's appeals of the deportation order and Arthur's father has been placed in a Federal Detention Center.

Arthur also has a 12 year old brother, who was born here and who is a U.S. citizen. He would go to Armenia with the family.

Congressman Radanovich is not optimistic the family will be able to avoid deportation for long. He believes the best case scenario may be for the family to go to Armenia voluntarily. He then believes Arthur can apply for a student visa and return to the United States.

Arthur has been accepted to U.C. Davis. But he said if he has to return to Armenia he'll be forced to join the army there and won't be able to come back. Radanovich said he plans to talk with the Armenian Ambassador in Washington D.C. to see if Arthur can avoid military service if he does return to Armenia.

As it stands now, Arthur plans to graduate with his class next week. If Feinstein does introduce a private bill, the family could avoid being deported on June 20th.


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