Washington, May 13 : Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have expressed opposition to the reported plans of Obama administration to conduct largescale raids targeting illegal immigrant families from violence-hit Central American countries.
Clinton and Sanders in separate statements called on President Barack Obama not to go ahead with largescale raids after news reports in this regard surfaced on Thursday.
"I urge President Obama to use his executive authority to protect families by extending Temporary Protective Status for those who fled from Central America," Sanders said.
Clinton said: "We need a comprehensive plan to stop the root causes of the violence in Central America and expand orderly resettlement programmes. Large scale raids are not productive and do not reflect who we are as a country."
Clinton said she is against largescale raids that tear families apart and sow fear in communities. "I am concerned about recent news reports, and believe we should not be taking kids and families from their homes in the middle of the night. Families fleeing violence in Central America must be given a full opportunity to seek relief," she said.
We need to take special care of children, said Clinton
"We need to take special care of children which is why I've laid out a plan to guarantee all unaccompanied minors are provided access to counsel. We must also fix our asylum and refugee systems, and work with regional partners to strengthen conditions in Central America," Clinton said.
Sanders said he is opposed to "the painful and inhumane business" of locking up and deporting families who have fled horrendous violence in Central America and other countries. Sending these people back into harm's way is wrong, he said.
"I recently met a young Salvadoran woman who came to the US on her own at the age of 15 to flee gangs trying to recruit her. I've also spoken with many children who have told me with tears streaming down their faces that they live in daily fear that their parents will be taken away," Sanders said.
The operation, reportedly planned over this month and the next, aims to round up and deport immigrants who have evaded deportation orders or not shown up for court hearings.