Family fights to stay in U.S.

Grand Junction Sentinel, CO
Nov 12 2004

The Daily Sentinel

Residents from two tiny western Colorado towns are trying desperately
to slow the federal government in time to prevent the deportation of
a family that friends said personify American values.

Four members of the Sargsyan family of Armenia are in custody in the
Denver Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Members of the
senior class at Ridgway High School plan to demonstrate Saturday
in front of the center for their classmate, Hayk. More than 1,500
people have signed a petition asking for agencies of the Department
of Homeland Security to slow, and reverse, the deportation of the

In addition to Hayk, Immigration and Customs Enforcement took into
custody his brother, Gevorg, sister Meri and father, Ruben.

The four were taken into custody last week after a hearing in which
they anticipated being able to post bail.

In the center of the swirl of events is Nvart Indinyan, the eldest
daughter of the family, who for the moment is free.

"They looked so good in their suits and ties and white shirts,"
Nvart said. Bail was denied, though, and her relatives were swept
away to custody.

"They won't even let me see them," Nvart said.

Also at stake for Nvart is her opportunity to remain in the United
States and care for her 8-year-old son, Joseph.

"They're good people," said Sherman Williams, a former Ridgway town
marshal. "It just breaks my heart to see what's going on. I don't
know what's going on with the federal government. (The Sargsyans')
have good religion, good family values."

They've also seen a run of unfortunate events.

One attorney they hired to handle their cases was disbarred for his
mishandling of it, another simply couldn't keep up with the volume
of work associated with their tangled web of family cases.

Now, the Sargsyans are hoping a third attorney will be able to file
a suit that will stop everything and allow them to work out their

For that, though, they need money.

Kelvin B. Kent of Ouray said town residents have outdone themselves
to raise cash for the family.

The Sargsyans, Kent said, are "innocent victims of other people's

Those misdeeds, Nvart said, began in 1994 when she met and married
an American in Armenia in 1994 and moved to America.

Her new husband, however, left behind a string of broken promises
and took with him thousands of dollars from people for whom he said
he could obtain visas to the United States.

Her family was hounded for the money in Armenia and she prevailed on
her husband to bring her kin to America, which he did, on student
visas. She was on a business visa as an associate of her husband,
she said.

Her husband refused to obtain permanent papers for her or the family.
Soon after her family arrived, Nvart sued for divorce and started a
long custody struggle.

Her ex-husband disappeared and she believes him to be in Germany
"doing harm to someone else," she said.

Nvart remarried five years ago and her husband, Lloyd "Max" Noland,
moved to adopt his new wife's brothers to protect them from the
possibility of deportation, she said.

Immigration officials, however, has refused to recognize the adoption,
citing Nvart's own entry into the United States as a ruse a charge
she denies and points to another immigration judge's ruling that
there was no fraud in her own case.

In any case, she said, it shouldn't matter because Noland is a citizen.

The last she heard from her brothers, their photographs had been taken,
she said.

"That's a bad sign" because people about to be sent out of the country
are photographed, she said.

Her father's condition while in custody is unknown, she said, while
officials have sent a psychologist in to visit with Meri, Nvart said.

Her mother, Susan, is awaiting more court rulings.

The family's legal wranglings have cost tens of thousands of dollars
earned on double shifts, holding down two jobs and other work,
she said.

"The community has raised more than $11,000, but we now urgently need
a minimum of $16,000 to pay the last two legal bills and provide a
retainer for the next stage" of filing suit, Kent said.

Donations can be made to the Sargsyan Legal Fund, P.O. Box 774,
Ridgway 81432, he said.

Nvart said she fears that she will be deported and her ex-husband
will get custody of her son an American citizen.

He doesn't understand the reasons for her constant trips to Denver,
the sudden absence of close family members, she said.

"I don't have these answers for my son."