Local Armenian Girls Closer to Citizenship
by Atle Erlingsson.

May 17 2005

Two local Armenian girls who faced deportation earlier this year may
soon be off the radar of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Senator Harry Reid and then Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge
stepped in to halt the deportation. Now, there's word the girls may
be able to stay for good.

Their father, Ruben Sarkisian, just passed his citizenship test,
which puts him that much closer to becoming a full-fledged citizen.
When that happens, it opens the doors for the girls to be allowed
to stay.

Seventeen-year-old Miriam, a junior at Palo Verde High School, is a
virtual lock since she's still a juvenile. But 19-year-old Emma must
file extensive paperwork to remain in the U.S. since she's an adult.

Miriam says getting this far was a challenge in itself. Their dad
speaks very little English. So, they've been helping him study for
the test.

"He studied everyday, very night, all day. He would sit here on the
table. He's knows everything by heart. He would rewrite them. He'd
make us like write the questions and answer them," Miriam said.

This all started four months ago when the girls went to a local
immigration office to get documents needed to get their driver's
licenses and to apply for college. The girls were detained and prepared
for deportation.

When the family immigrated to the U.S., the girls were very young
and the parents thought the children were allowed to stay.

The Sarkisian girls were given a six-month reprieve by the government.

They will meet with immigration officials in July to show the progress
their family is making toward establishing citizenship.

It could take several weeks if not more than a month to get Ruben
Sarkisian fully established. After that, they will start making
arrangements for the girls.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress