Liberals outraged by Obama's deportation plan
Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday criticized the Obama administration's plans to begin deporting potentially hundreds of families that arrived in the United States illegally since last year.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that federal immigration officials are preparing raids that would target the families and could begin as soon as January. A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed the plans.
The news, arriving on the eve of the holidays, sparked concerns and outrage from Democrats and immigration advocates. They argued that the effort would target largely women and children fleeing violence from Central America, whom critics say should be treated as refugees.
"Hillary Clinton has real concerns about these reports, especially as families are coming together during this holiday season," said Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. "She believes it is critical that everyone has a full and fair hearing, and that our country provides refuge to those that need it. And we should be guided by a spirit of humanity and generosity as we approach these issues."
Her chief rival for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said he was "very disturbed" by the reports, adding: “As we spend time with our families this holiday season, we who are parents should ask ourselves what we would do if our children faced the danger and violence these children do? How far would we go to protect them?”
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, another Democratic presidential candidate, called for an end to "mindless deportations."
“DHS’ Christmas Eve announcement that they are planning to launch mass holiday raids and deport families who risked their lives to flee violence in Central America is completely at odds with our character as a nation," O'Malley said in a statement.