22 Senate Dems seek deportation raid halt, break with Obama
By Associated Press | January 22, 2016, 15:58 EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — Twenty-two Democratic senators asked President Barack Obama on Friday to halt the recent round of federal deportation raids in another break between the party and the administration over its handling of Central American immigrants.
In a letter Friday, the senators wrote that the raids were sweeping up mothers and children who face threats of violence and death when they are returned to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
“We are troubled by the priorities reflected in these enforcement actions,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is important to evaluate this as a humanitarian and refugee crisis involving a vulnerable population and not strictly as a border security and immigration enforcement matter.”
The senators said the tactic of using highly publicized raids, sometimes in the pre-dawn hours, was “shocking and misguided.” They also rejected administration arguments that the operations would deter additional immigrants from fleeing the region to the U.S., saying, “That argument relies on the false premise that most of these people are not fleeing extraordinary danger.”
The 22 senators comprise nearly half of all Democrats in the Senate. Among those signing were No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Not signing were Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who has expressed hope the raids would be paused, and the lawmaker likely to succeed him as Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.