Mother of 4 leaves sanctuary to hold protest at office of Sen. Bob Casey

The woman held a sit-in at Sen. Bob Casey's Market Street office over the lack of progress in her asylum case.

Cherri Gregg
October 10, 2018 - 6:18 pm
Carmela Hernandez and her 14-year-old daughter, Keyri, held a press conference in the lobby of 2000 Market Street.

Cherri Gregg | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — An undocumented mother of four who has been holed up in a North Philadelphia church since last December and seeking asylum, left sanctuary Wednesday to hold a sit-in at the office of Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey. 

Carmela Hernandez and her 14-year-old daughter, Keyri, held a press conference in the lobby of 2000 Market Street. Hernandez claims she won't leave unless Casey takes action on her asylum case. Despite being under an order of deportation, Hernandez went to Casey's sixth-floor office demanding action.

"ICE could very well come here and apprehend her. There's nothing really stopping them," said Yasmine Delgado with Sanctuary Advocate Coalition. "Carmela felt that she has nothing to lose and everything to gain from coming here."

Delgado said advocates reached out to Casey multiple times over the past eight months, and while he's supported Carmela behind closed doors, there's little concrete action. Hernandez and her kids have lived inside of the Church of the Advocate for 10 months with no movement in her case. She hopes to use the upcoming midterm elections as pressure. 

"He is up for re-election, so he has to show Pennsylvania that he is in opposition to Trump's xenophobic policies," said Delgado.

Hernandez spoke to Casey on the phone and asked him to introduce a private bill. His office says private bills don't work. 

In a statement Wednesday, Casey said over the last several months his office has advocated on Hernadez and her family's behalf with top officials in the Trump administration.