More News:

May 03, 2017

Sen. Casey's tweets plead with Trump administration to stop mother, son's deportations

Sen. Bob Casey implored the Trump administration to reverse a federal decision to deport a mother and her 5-year-old son to Honduras, despite the boy's eligibility for protected refugee status, claiming the family faces a "death sentence" there.

In a lengthy series of tweets Wednesday, the two-term Democrat from Pennsylvania told the story of a young mother and her son who had been held at a facility in Berks County prior to receiving the sudden deportation order by the Trump administration.

Casey's tweets come as the Trump administration continues to face legal and political resistance to its most aggressive immigration policies. 

In addition to federal court appeals of its two travel bans and a suspension of the U.S. refugee program for seven Muslim-majority countries, Trump this week wrangled with Congress over $1.4 billion in spending for a southern border wall, a key plank of his presidential campaign that failed to secure a place in the budget. 

Trump's administration has also worked to strengthen the authority of the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, increasing targeted sweeps and doubling the number of arrests of undocumented immigrants without criminal records since taking office. 

Sanctuary cities such as Philadelphia have had federal funding threatened because their refusal to cooperate with ICE in immigration cases that they deem to be overridden by Constitutional protections and local jurisdiction.

Jacklin Rhoads, a spokesperson for Casey, said the senator has written to the Department of Homeland Security on multiple occasions during the past year to urge better treatment and respect for the legal protections sought by families detained in Pennsylvania.  

"The child in question and his mother pose absolutely no threat to this country. This deportation should not have happened," Rhoads said. "They are heading back into a possible dangerous situation for them and this deportation should be stopped. This is egregious. We should be looking for violent criminals, not refugee families who are seeking asylum." 

In a letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly, Casey urged the administration to honor the documentation several families had obtained while held at the Berks County Residential Center in Leesburg, Pennsylvania. The mother and child referenced in Casey's tweets Wednesday were not among the four families identified. 

Still, Casey argued that other families in this situation, many of whom are subject to "troubling allegations of abuse and neglect" in Berks County, deserve fair hearings. 

"They fled brutal violence and death threats in their home countries only to be placed in detention and denied the right to fully state their asylum claims," Casey wrote. "In the interest of justice, these families, too, should be issued Notices to Appear before and immigration court and be given a full and fair opportunity to put forth their case for asylum."

In direct letter sent to President Trump on Wednesday, Casey said he planned to mail a photo of the five-year-old boy to the White House.

"We are better than this," Casey said. "You have the power to help this child return to safety and to help the other families in a similar situation."