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Feinstein debuts bill to halt Mkoyan deportation
The Fresno Bee
Brad Branan and Vanessa Colon
June 10, 2008

Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill today seeking to halt deportation proceedings against Arthur Mkoyan, the valedictorian at Fresno's Bullard High School.

Arthur, whose case has attracted national attention, is graduating from high school today. Arthur has been planning to attend the University of California at Davis, where he has been accepted.

Feinstein's bill also applies to Arthur's mother and father, who is being held in detention in Arizona, said Scott Gerber, a Feinstein spokesman. Arthur's 12-year-old brother is a U.S. citizen because he was born here, Gerber said.

In a prepared statement, Feinstein said: "This is a family that has deep roots in the community and has worked hard. The children have excelled in school. So I am introducing a private bill to ensure that they can stay in this country."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ordered Arthur and his mother to leave the United States by late June and return to Armenia, a country Arthur hasn't seen since he was 2. Arthur's family fled the former Soviet Union and has been seeking asylum since 1992.

Getting bills passed to avoid deportations are an "uphill battle," Gerber said, but "we're going to work to see that it is passed." The bill will effectively suspend the deportation proceedings until Congress makes a decision on the legislation, he said.

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