MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. -- It was a heartbreaking scene on the steps of the CASA building in Langley Park as the family of Diego and Lizandro Claros struggled to contain their grief over the two brothers deportation back to El Salvador Wednesday.
Diego, 22 and Lizandro, 19, fled from El Salvador in 2009 to escape the county's violence.
News of their deportation sparked an anti-deportation rally, where many stood in solidarity with the Claros family.
“Stop! You are separating our families! Estan separando nuestras familias!”, exclaimed CASA Executive Director, Gustavo Torres, before introducing family members to speak.
Both brothers are high school graduates and were star soccer players for the Bethesda Soccer Club.
Lizandro had just received a scholarship to play soccer at a North Carolina college.
Their coach, Matt Ney, told crowds that the two were detained Friday, when they showed up to their immigration check in, to share the good news.
“If this is a win for the current administration. If this is something that they deem positive, to deport college bound young men? Then, as a community we need to stand up and make sure this doesn’t happen again.”, said Ney.
This decision comes after President Trump ramped up efforts to return undocumented immigrants with a criminal history.. and on the same day he announced plans to tighten up on legal immigration.
However Torres told crowds, “Lizandro and Diego were not criminals, they were extraordinary human beings and young.”
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) fought to keep the Claros bothers here, hailing them as “exemplary Marylanders” dedicated to their education and giving back.
In a statement, Senator Van Hollen said, “It is an insult to decency and common sense for Diego and Lizandro to be targeted for deportation.”
In a statement ICE said Diego and Lizandro initially came to the US on fake Guatemalan passports in 2009 and were granted a stay of removal in 2013.
However, two other applications had since been denied and they were both told to purchase a departure ticket in 2016.
Coach Ney said he and the Bethesda Soccer Club are doing everything in their power to bring the brothers back to the United State.
Meanwhile, their heartbroken mother said she's not giving up.
“Unfortunately, we cannot stop the deportation of my kids, but as a mother, I’m going to keep fighting.”, she told the crowd.