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Neighbors, friends rally to keep Diaz family in the U.S.

Without a 'miracle,' family expects to be deported next week

Friends, neighbors, former teachers and church members of the Diaz family will gather Wednesday night in an effort to help stop the deportation of three of the Beaverton family's members.

In order to show their support for keeping the family together, they are hoping that a peaceful rally will garner the attention needed to encourage government leaders and immigration officials to halt deportation proceedings that would force Irma Diaz and her two oldest children - Luis Jr., 21, and Monica, 19, - to return next week to their native Guatemala.

The rally will begin at 6:30 p.m. near the club house entrance of Beaverton's Heritage Village Manufactured Home Community, 123 Heritage Village Park.

'It means so much to us that people want to help,' said Luis Diaz Sr. 'I still can't believe this is happening to us.

'This has been our home for 15 years. I hope this rally will help us keep my family together like we are right now.'

His wife Irma agreed. 'Maybe the miracle we are waiting for is coming.'

While Monica prepares to share her family's story during the rally, the aspiring teacher has hopes of her own.

'We want to get more attention,' Monica said. 'People in our community are concerned about us. We want to get President Bush's attention and Congress' attention to show (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)officials that this is a big deal and that it's important for us to stay.'

Rally organizers invite the public to take part in Wednesday's event.

'It is an absolute human tragedy to rip this family apart - for a daughter to be denied her mother at the age of 11 and for two upstanding young adults to be sent to a country with little to no future,' said Nikki Hurtado, who helped organize the rally.

'The community supports this family and their struggle - their battle to stay together. We feel we cannot stand by and stoically watch this atrocity without at the very least voicing our frustration that our government is so at odds with this issue that it has resorted to breaking apart families and sending away the very kind of citizens that this country so needs for a better future.'