Wyoming News, WY
Dec 10 2004

Armenian family released from immigration center

DENVER (AP) - An Armenian family held in an immigration detention
center in Denver for nearly five weeks has been unexpectedly

''I'm shaking. It happened so fast. It's incredible. I feel like I'm
in a dream,'' said Gevorg Sargsyan, moments after he, his sister
Meri, brother Hayk and father Ruben walked out of the center

The Sargsyan family was taken into custody while their attorney was
trying to obtain visas for them, based on their contention they were
victims of a con man who trafficked in fraudulent visas. That battle
is not over.

The family has lived and worked in the western Colorado town of
Ridgway for more than six years.

Hayk is a senior honor student at Ridgway High School. Gevorg was on
the dean's list at the University of Colorado, where he was studying
chemical engineering. Meri was well known for playing piano in local
churches. Ruben, a space-optics scientist in Armenia, had been
working multiple jobs to provide for his family.

His wife, Susan, and their daughter Nvart, who both work in Ouray and
Ridgway, were not taken into custody because their immigration cases
were being heard separately.

Ouray County residents have raised more than $30,000 for their legal
defense, written hundreds of letters and e-mails and asked officials
from regional immigration officials to President Bush to take another
look at the case and allow the family to stay.

''We are very glad ICE made this decision,'' said Pete Whiskeman, a
Ridgway businessman who has helped lead the effort.

Carl Rusnok, a Dallas-based spokesman for the immigration division,
said the Sargsyans were released on orders from Washington on

''They were released because they are not a threat to national
security and not a flight risk,'' Rusnok said. ''Frankly, we can use
the detention space for more dangerous criminals.''

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress