WASHINGTON - A Honduran woman and her son, both of whom had been detained in Berks County, were deported from the United States on Wednesday, according to Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who waged an all-out effort to stop it from happening.
"This is totally unnecessary," Casey told 69 News. "Neither of these individuals poses any threat at all and they are sending them back... into a life-threatening circumstance."
Casey said the woman witnessed the murder of her cousin in Honduras and was being pursued by gangs before she and her son fled the country for the U.S.
"The gangs will target this mother and her child the moment they land in Honduras," Casey said in one of more than two dozen tweets about the case on Wednesday.
The woman and her son had been held at the Berks County Residential Center, a facility in Bern Township that houses women and children who are seeking asylum hearings.
Worst part: According to lawyers @DHSgov knew darn well that 5yr old & mother had secured paperwork to protect them & they rushed removal.— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) May 3, 2017
"Homeland Security and ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] should be focused on people that pose a threat," Casey said. "This obsession with deportation, which has been unfortunately an obsession with the administration since they started, does nothing for our national security."
Casey said he called the White House and spoke with the president's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, about the issue.
"I just told him what was happening and asked him to check into it, and he said he would," Casey said. "I don't want our government being responsible for sending a mom and a child back into a circumstance where they are threatened, then potentially become the victim of an attack of some kind."
Casey said he also put a call into Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, whose department oversees the ICE agency. ICE officials told 69 News that they would respond directly to Casey regarding the case.
The news comes a day after Casey and several of his Senate and House colleagues on Capitol Hill sent a letter to Kelly, calling for the federal government to stop the detention of four other children and their mothers at the facility in Bern Township.
Casey said each of the children has been granted special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) and has a pending application for legal permanent residency.
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