December 17, 2002
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ardashes Kassakhian
tel: (818) 500-1918

ANCA-WR MOBILIZATION OF COMMUNITY SUCCEEDS IN REVERSING ATTORNEY GENERAL’S DECISION TO ADD ARMENIA TO INS REGISTRATION LIST

ANCA-WR AND LOCAL CHAPTERS SUCCEED IN REVERSING IMMIGRATION POLICY TARGETTING ARMENIAN IMMIGRANTS

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) continued its efforts throughout the weekend to press the Bush Administration to officially remove the Republic of Armenia from the list of countries whose non-immigrant nationals over the age of 16 residing in the United States would be required to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Just a few hours ago the ANCA-WR received confirmation that the efforts have paid off and that the Administration will remove Armenia from its previous Order. This means that Armenian Nationals will not be compelled to adhere to an onerous registration with the INS relative to the National Security Entry and Exit Registration System.

Within hours of hearing the news of the Order including Armenia on Friday, the ANCA-WR brought together a pan-community coalition to ensure a swift response and repeal of this decision. Following an “ANC Breaking News” announcement on Horizon Television on Saturday afternoon where ANCA-WR Chairman Steven Dadaian and former ANCA Executive Director Seto Boyajian explained recent developments regarding the anticipated policy announcement, over 10,000 ANC WebFaxes were sent to the White House demanding the removal of Armenia from the list.

“The ANCA-WR also worked very closely with Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate to see that this obvious mistake was corrected,” stated Ardashes Kassakhian, Director of Government Relations of the ANCA-WR.

“Our local ANC chapters have contacted dozens of Members of Congress to let them know how strongly we feel about this issue. From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Congressman George Radanovich – these representatives were briefed and active on this issue,” he added.

“We were and still are particulaarly concerned as to how this could have occurred in the first place, since Armenia has absolutely no record of harboring any terrorists. In fact Armenia has been one of the U.S’s staunchest supporter of the war on global terror and Armenians in the United States came out in overwhelming support of President George W. Bush’s pledge to rid the world of terrorism.” Kassakhian added.

Members of Congress have already placed inquiries into the Department of Justice regarding the announcement. Representatives with sizable Armenian-American communities in their districts are particularly concerned with the impact this announcement could have had on the Armenian community.

Congressman Adam Schiff (California – District 29), who represents the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena immediately made inquiries into the matter.

“The INS has certainly not done its homework on the Armenian community in America or our friends overseas in Armenia itself. Indeed, I believe the actiions of the INS constitute an outrageous mistake that casts a shadow over the great character and integrity of the Armenian people,” said Congressman George Radanovich (R-CA).

Within minutes of the news, Congressman Adam Schiff called the ANCA-WR and congratulated the organization on its hard work.

“I will continue to closely monitor this in the coming hours and days in order to address the numerous questions and concerns raised by my constituents.” added Congressman Schiff, regarding the recent news.

The Fresno Bee, reporting on the ANCA’s grassroots campaign, described its “Internet-based lobbying effort, which in just one day bounced some 10,000 protest faxes to the White House, of which an estimated 60 percent came from California. The organization has also been mobilizing calls to both the White House and the 100-plus members of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.” The paper quoted ANCA’s Hamparian as saying that. “The one thing that struck me about this was the speed with which the Armenian community responded. We’ve never gotten a 24-hour response like this.”

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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