Deportation Delayed for Arthur Mkoyan

It really wouldn't come down to this last minute gamble, if Congress had demonstrated some leadership and enacted the DREAM Act.

Arthur Mkoyan and his family are no longer being deported thanks to Senator Feinstein who filed a private bill on their behalf. Yet, their immigration hurdles are far from over.

Rubin Navarette Jr. does not seem thrilled with all the hue and cry over Arthur Mkoyan's deportation. This is part of what he wrote in the SF Chronicle:


I wonder why more of them – including Tancredo – aren't making a fuss over Arthur Mkoyan. The fact is, Apodaca didn't get nearly the amount of public sympathy that Mkoyan has received up to now. Why the double standard? I believe it's because, while Mkoyan may not have a leg to stand on legally, he at least has the benefit of not being Mexican. Much of the immigration debate is fueled by a fear of a changing culture, competing languages, an altered landscape, and what loopy Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist calls the "colonization" of the United States by Mexican immigrants. Arthur Mkoyan isn't considered a party to any of that. For some people, that makes all the difference. And, in some respects, that's the saddest thing about this story.

No, the saddest thing about this story is reporters trying to play racial exclusionary politics with it. Whether or not Arthur Mkoyan received more sympathy based on his non-Mexican national heritage can be debated later at some conference or symposium. Now is not the time.

When we, the DREAM Act students, try to garner support for Arthur Mkoyan or other students like Tope Awe or Meynardo Garcia facing deportation, their racial or ethnic identity is not a motivating factor in our cause.

Navarette Jr. should consider letting the subaltern speak instead of drawing conclusions about experiences where he is an 'outsider-looking-in.' It is up to the individual undocumented youth students to decide whether they believe racial politics is a factor in protests and efforts to stay their deportation.

Right now, I am more concerned about Arthur and his ability to stay in the United States, where he belongs. If he is getting "special attention," I would rather take advantage of it to promote our cause and prevent his deportation, instead of sitting on the sidelines making divisive comments and pondering about why his case is so special.

Ultimately, I believe we are all special and deserve to stay in the United States if we have beaten the odds and graduated from high school in the least. Lets not play racial politics with the lives of undocumented students.


This does not mean I advocate marginalizing or stifling out a very important element of the immigration debate, which is race and the otherizing of difference. I just do not believe in writing an article about deporting a DREAMER (no matter how tongue-in-cheek) to prove a point about systemic racism. We can do both–we can recognize the biases in the system while trying to protect our students–regardless of certain social/political characteristics–from deportation.

What can happen with the Private bill?

After it passes the scrutiny of the House and Senate, the private bill would be referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims. If it passes that test, than the private bill would be put on a private calendar  for floor consideration where it would face more hurdles.

Needless to say, private bills have an extremely low success rate. Only 151 have been approved in the past 12 years and none in the past 3 years.

We wish Arthur Mkoyan and family all the best in their efforts. 

Learn more about private bills here.

Click here to request that our next President takes action on the DREAM Act, which would grant conditional residency to undocumented students like Arthur Mkoyan so that they can pursue higher education in the United States. 

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