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Diaz family's deportation postponed

Behind-the-scenes work in Washington, D.C., lets Beaverton residents stay together for another week

The Diaz family on Friday received news they have been praying for.

Beaverton residents Irma Diaz and her two oldest children Luis Jr., 21, and Monica, 19, will not have to board a plane late Monday night and return to their native Guatemala.

Immigration officials instead are allowing the family to remain in the United States until July 21.

'They have given us an extension to depart to allow additional discussion to go forward in Washington, D.C.,' said Tilman Hasche, an immigration attorney representing the family. 'This is great news - this is fantastic.'

It's the first step toward staying the deportation of Irma, Luis Jr. and Monica until Luis Sr.'s political asylum appeal is decided.

Luis Sr.'s political asylum and cancellation of removal claims are both on appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

'The battle is far from over,' Hasche said. 'We're winding our way through the corridor of power at this point.

'I'm hopeful that this latest development is a good sign. This delay will let the process in Congress go forward. Congressman David Wu is doing everything he can to get people on board, but it's a complicated process.'

U.S. Rep. David Wu and his staff have be kept hopping as they lead an effort to move a private bill through a U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration.

Wu, a Hillsdale Democrat who represents Oregon's 1st Congressional District, is working to pass H.R. 5745, a private congressional bill he introduced June 29 in the U.S. House on the Beaverton family's behalf.

The Diaz family's plight was brought to Wu's attention by a flurry of calls from concerned neighbors, friends and former teachers as well as a formal request by the family's immigration attorneys Tilman Hasche and Sherilyn Waxler of Parker, Bush and Lane, PC.

Petitions and letters from residents of Beaverton's Heritage Village Manufactured Home Community, members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Aloha and the staff of Elmonica Elementary School urged Wu to take action to keep the family together in the United States.

Letters of support and calls to Wu's office praised the family's contributions to the community in the 15 years it took immigration officials to review and rule on Luis Sr.'s application for political asylum and lawful permanent residency.

Wu hoped to meet this week with the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, but scheduling conflicts kept the meeting from happening.

In the meantime, Wu and his staff are exploring other options to keep the close-knit Beaverton family together.

'There are communications ongoing,' Sherilyn Waxler said earlier this week. 'We're trying yet another avenue and trying to convince the government itself to let them stay.'