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North Carolina Church Rallies To Save Pastor From Being Deported

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File photo of a courtroom. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a courtroom. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BENSON, NC (CBS Charlotte) – People of a church community are trying to save their pastor from being deported.

Over 100 people showed up at a rally that was held earlier in the week to show support of Rev. Jose Armando.

Armando, 48, is a native of Honduras. He is in this country illegally. Immigration officials took him away last month but his family says it is all just a misunderstanding.

Armando has been accused of making false statements when he applied for a temporary work permit back in 2010. Federal prosecutors said he lied about a drug conviction from 1994. He was convicted of possession for sale of a controlled substance in Los Angeles.

His family claims that the woman they hired to fill out paperwork misled them.

“Just put what you are now. Don’t do nothing of what you did before,” Sergio Tabora, Armando’s stepson, told WNCN that was what the woman told his stepfather. “And that’s exactly what he did.”

Armando was booked in the Mecklenburg County Jail. While in jail, he was diagnosed with diabetes.  The doctors said the illness was so bad that they had to amputate one of his toes.

“It’s been hard for us to get information from the jail,” Tabora told the station. “We’d call and they’re not giving us anything.”

The family has hired an attorney from the immigrant advocacy group the N.C. Dream Team.

“This is a case that we don’t know how it was handled in California,” Viridiana Martinez, an attorney from N.C. Dream Team, said. “He was deported to Mexico when he’s an Honduran national, for god’s sake, like that is enough for me to think that 20 years ago, his case wasn’t handled properly.”

The family is planning on visiting Armando in jail.

Armando is scheduled for arraignment in federal court in Raleigh on August 18.

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