On Wednesday, a Democratic senator from Pennsylvania live-tweeted his attempt to stop a family of two asylum-seekers from being sent back to their native country of Honduras, which they fled after being threatened by gang members. Senator Bob Casey went on a tweet storm, pleading for a Honduran mother and her 5-year-old son to remain in the United States, where they are safe. Earlier, the Trump administration had ordered them to board a plane to their home country on Wednesday, sparking outrage among people like Casey.
The Senator tweeted that the Department of Homeland Security had allegedly said it won't disclose whether the mother and her son are still in the United States or have reached Honduras. Bustle reached out to the DHS for comment. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services' Joanne Talbot responded via email:
[The asylum-seeker] entered the United States unlawfully on Dec. 17, 2015 and was detained the following day. [The asylum-seeker] was removed May 3, 2017, after having exhausted all legal remedies available to her. [The asylum-seeker] sought and was afforded judicial review of her claims challenging her removal order before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the nation’s highest courts, namely the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously denied [the asylum-seeker]’ Petition for Writ of Certiorari. [The asylum-seeker], having had no legal basis upon which to remain in the United States, was removed without incident pursuant to the lawfully issued removal order.
"This woman was in Honduras. She witnessed a murder. And because of that, she has been pursued by gangs," Casey said in an interview with MSNBC. "We should protect her and her son."
After arriving in America, the mother and child were denied asylum and detained at an immigration detention facility in Pennsylvania in December 2015. Although the mother attempted to have the rejection of her asylum status overturned, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear her case. According to Casey, however, her young son potentially qualified for Special Immigrant Juveniles status, a policy that would exempt him from deportation. Although the child had a legal right to appear in front of a judge to claim this status, he and his mother were deported on Wednesday.
Casey began documenting the family's saga around noon when he received word that the pair was being put on a plane back to Honduras by the DHS and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Casey stated in his over 40-Tweet thread that he has consistently voted in favor of tightening border security, but that there is a difference between targeting "bad hombres," as Trump refers to them, and deporting vulnerable children who are, according to Casey, in imminent danger of being harmed when they return to their home country.
Casey frantically tagged President Trump and various White House agencies in his posts, urging them to "do the right thing." He even spoke to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus by phone, who assured him that the administration was "looking into" the incident. Casey fruitlessly attempted to contact other White House officials to find out which flight the family was on.
Casey claims he was told by DHS officials that only President Trump could reverse the deportation, so he then made an impassioned plea to the White House in an afternoon interview on MSNBC.
Ultimately, Casey was unable to get any kind of definitive answer on the fate of the family from the Trump administration, though ICE officials told him that the two were "gone." Casey questioned why the government would expend so much time and energy on removing a harmless child from the country, and stated that whatever happens to the young boy is a direct result of the administration's decisions.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has vowed to increase deportation raids in a "military-style operation" and to ensure that ICE agents remove "bad hombres" from the country. In February, the Trump Administration detained over 600 immigrants in a single week, according to the Department of Homeland Security. And if this incident that Casey was ultimately unable to prevent is any indication for the future, this trend could continue throughout the remainder of Trump's term.