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Physicist discovers science of deportation

Karen S. Kim

NORTHEAST GLENDALE -- Glendale resident Poghos Kazarian’s fight

against deportation is more than a personal matter.

To him, it’s a matter of national and scientific significance.

The 28-year-old physics scholar does research and volunteer tutoring

at Glendale Community College. He said the Immigration and Naturalization

Service’s decision to not grant him residency is impeding his ability to

contribute to the scientific world of classical and quantum gravity.

“The most annoying part of my situation is that my brain has to be

occupied with laws and regulations of the INS,” Kazarian said. “When

you’re a researcher, you want to be thinking of your work. I came to this

country for one reason: to further my science research. I cannot afford

to stop doing my science.”

After Kazarian arrived in the United States in October 1998, he made

the decision to apply for permanent residency status as an “alien of

extraordinary ability” in March 1999.

The INS did not find Kazarian extraordinary enough in June 2000, when

it rejected his application.

“Nothing truly significant and outstanding has been accomplished by

him since he published an article at the age of 20 [more than six years

ago],” the INS’ notice of decision said of Kazarian. “Since then, he has

done some work in his professional field of choice, but certainly nothing

else that can be considered truly significant has been accomplished.”

INS Los Angeles Spokesman Francisco Arcaute declined to comment for

this story, saying, “We don’t comment on individual cases because there

are privacy concerns.”

Kazarian filed an appeal, but the documents were sent back because of

filing errors. Kazarian blames his Los Angeles attorney, George A.

Verdin.

“People at his office even suggested that I marry a citizen, saying

there’s 20 million single women here,” Kazarian said. “After this, I

became suspicious.”

Kazarian’s suspicions do not appear to be unfounded. Verdin was

disbarred from the Hawaii State Bar on April 22, 1999, for violating 11

rules of professional conduct, including practicing “conduct involving

dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,” an official at Hawaii’s

Office of Disciplinary Counsel said Wednesday.

Verdin could not be reached for comment. The California Bar Assn. said

it has no record of Verdin being licensed to practice in California.

A second attorney, Areg Kazaryan, was hired by Kazarian to file an

appeal in February, explaining the situation with Verdin. The appeal was

denied May 7 by the INS as “not filed within the time allowed.”

Officials at GCC and Kazarian are fighting diligently to convince the

INS to reevaluate the appeal, which included several letters of

recommendation from science colleagues, including those from Caltech, GCC

and Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“If people in my field think my work is of use here, I don’t think INS

officials can know better on this topic,” Kazarian said. “The only thing

I want is for them to let me continue my work. Let me work, let me pay my

taxes.”

GCC President John Davitt said the school supports Kazarian.

“We think the INS should reconsider the case because he’s the type of

person that would obviously be an asset to the scientific community,”

Davitt said, adding that the college has sent a letter to Rep. Adam

Schiff (D-Glendale) asking for help.

Kazarian, who earned a doctorate degree in physics at Yerevan State

University, has been researching at GCC for two years.

“I’m losing my time,” he said. “I can’t do my research. [The INS is]

not just harming me, they’re harming my students, they’re harming this

country, they’re harming everyone.”


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