Fresno Valedictorian's Deportation Delayed

June 10, 2008 9:25:12 PM PDT
Late Tuesday afternoon Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill seeking to stop the deportation proceedings against Arthur Mkoyan and his family.That gives hope to the Bullard High School student who graduated as one of his class valedictorians.

A sea of white and blue caps and gowns filled the Save Mart center. Arthur Mkoyan smiles as he receives his diploma. He says at least for this moment he wants to forget he may soon be forced to leave the country he calls home.

"It's a mystery what's going to happen. Just ten days, it's not even that much if you think about it."

Arthur was set to be deported back to Armenia June 20th. This morning he walked the hallways of Bullard High one last time. "I guess people take for granted what they have here. But back there it's so much worse; there is poverty, corruption. There is a lot of stuff going on there."

Arthur's story has received a lot of attention lately. Senator Diane Feinstein introduced a private bill that would grant Arthur's family legal status. And a Chicago band even wrote a song about the 17-year old's plight.

Arthur's family has been denied repeated requests for asylum his father is already in a detention center in Arizona. Yet Arthur remains hopeful, "In my heart it's all faith, just hoping that something will happen."

His classmate, Fernando Kamalei, says deportation seems unfair for someone who's accomplished so much. "He's been here and he's been through the school and he's a class valedictorian. I mean he wants to go to college and that, so he has some plans here."

Those plans include going to UC Davis and becoming either a dentist or a pharmacist.

The bill introduced by Senator Feinstein seeks to halt the family's deportation. Whether or not the legislation gets passed remains to be seen, but in the meantime the family gets to stay in this country.


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