After tweeting a desperate appeal to President Donald Trump to halt the deportation of a mother and her 5-year-old child to Honduras, where they could be targeted for murder by gangs, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Wednesday that they were already on a plane.
Casey tweeted the mother and son’s story early Wednesday afternoon, saying they were being held at an immigration jail in Berks County.
Bridget Cambria, an immigration attorney, told the local NBC News affiliate that the mother and son had been detained since December 2015 and that both were deported Wednesday despite applying for a special immigrant juvenile status exception for the young child.
“We literally were arguing to include this child while immigration was watching the plane take off,” Cambria said.
Casey tweeted that the mother and sons lives were in serious danger if they were deported because the mother had witnessed the murder of her cousin. Gang violence is a major problem in Honduras and across Central America, where warring gangs present young adults with a harrowing choice: join or die.
He also appealed to his voting record on immigration in the tweet thread, saying protecting the mother and child—who are far from the “bad hombres” Trump promised to kick out of the country—is simply the right thing to do.
The senator later tweeted that he spoke with Trump’s Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, who he claimed said the White House is “looking into it.” He also accused Department of Homeland Security officials, who he said “knew darn well” that attorneys had applied for the 5-year-old’s protection, of rushing the “vulnerable” immigrants out of the country anyway.
The senator was scrambling to figure out whether it was too late for the Trump administration—which isn’t exactly known for its compassionate gestures—to step in to save the mother and child, based on whether they were booked on a direct flight back to Honduras or one with a layover.
We’ve reached out to DHS and the White House for comment and will update if we hear back.
This is a developing story. We’ll update this post when we know more.