US Sen. Bob Casey is lashing out at the Trump administration for deporting a Honduran mother and son he says are at risk of getting killed by gang members.
In a series of tweets Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Democrat accused US Immigration and Customs Enforcement of sending the two back into danger. He included an image of a letter he sent to President Donald Trump about the case.
“This 5yo and his mother aren’t ‘bad hombres,’ ” he tweeted, making reference to a term Trump regularly uses. “They aren’t in a gang, they’re running from death vulnerable, and scared.”
Before they were deported, the mother and son were held for more a year at a family detention center in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Casey implored the government to find a way to bring them back. Gang members are looking for the woman after she witnessed her cousin’s murder and then fled Honduras with her son, according to the senator.
“We are better than this, ” he wrote in the letter. “You have the power to help this child return to safety.”
No more legal options
ICE said the woman had ran out of legal options.
“It’s unfortunate that politicians are repeating misleading information and in the process, demonizing the men and women whose job it is to enforce the laws Congress writes,” said Liz Johnson, assistant director at ICE.
She said the woman entered the United States unlawfully on December 17, 2015, and was detained the following day.
She was deported Wednesday after her claims were denied at multiple levels. She had exhausted all legal remedies available, Johnson said.
Before her deportation, her case had been denied by the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, according to Johnson.
ICE officials contacted Casey’s office about the case and provided information as it became available, she said.
Deported during phone call
Carol Anne Donohoe, an attorney for the mother, said the son is eligible for special immigrant juvenile status and they had initiated his application process. She declined to name them out of fear for their security in Honduras.
“The family has already been contacted by persecutors saying they know they are coming back into the country,” Donohoe said.
Attorneys for the woman learned the news of the deportation order Wednesday morning in a call from another detainee at the center, she said. At the time of the call, the woman and her son had been driven to New York’s Kennedy International Airport.
Attorneys quickly jumped into action, scheduling a 10:15 a.m. conference call with government attorneys and the presiding judge in the case. They had hoped the government would hold off on the deportation given the application process for the boy’s special immigrant juvenile status.
However, halfway through the 45-minute call, government attorneys told them the family had just been escorted onto a flight bound for Honduras.
When he was informed of the deportation, Casey called the Department of Homeland Security and ICE and left messages he said have not been returned.
He also spoke with Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff. Casey’s press secretary, Jacklin Rhoads, said there has been no progress since the calls.
“The senator thinks this is an atrocity contrary to all our American values,” Rhoads said.