Last Minute Reprieve kept Valley Student from Deportation

Fresno, CA A valley student facing deportation to Armenia just fifteen months ago, is now getting ready to start his second year of college and embark upon a Dental career.

Arthur Mkoyan graduated as Valedictorian from Bullard High School in June of 2008. He'd been accepted to UC Davis, his first college choice, but he and his family were facing immediate deportation to Armenia.

Asmik Karabedian, Arthur's mother said: "We try to do everything right. We did everything for our kids to be safe and sound. It just didn't work out that way."

Arthur's mother said she and her husband came to the United States over a decade ago on tourist visas. They began seeking asylum in this country in 1992. The courts rejected their many appeals and they were scheduled for deportation.

But Senator Dianne Feinstein stepped in and introduced a bill to allow the family to stay in this Country until their immigration status is resolved.

Just weeks after that, a generous benefactor from the bay area stepped in to pay for Arthur's College Education.

Arthur Mkoyan, Armenian student said: "I couldn't believe it, it's incredible. If you asked me that a couple of months before it happened I would have said, 'no way, there's no chance of that happening.'

Arthur spent this last year studying at UC Davis and interned this summer at a local dentist's office, Dr. Robert Garabedian had been taking Armenian language lessons from Arthur's mom when he learned of the family's plight.

Dr. Robert Garabedian, Fresno dentist said: "It's difficult because when you see a great family who's contributing to our society. The mom's going to school, the son's going to school, the dad's working, the mom's working and we can't find it in our hearts to give them amnesty?"

Dr. Garabedian said Arthur has been a great intern, and has good hands for dentistry. Senator Feinstein's bill could lead to permanent residency for Arthur and his family in the United States. But there's always the possibility they will have to go back to Armenia. It's something Arthur ponders every day.

Dr. Robert Garabedian, Fresno dentist said: "All the time, I just think about how long it'll take. And what will happen when it eventually does.

Arthur said he still has his faith and his life at Davis. A life he will return to in just a few days.

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