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Bernie Sanders: Central American refugees should not be 'cast out'

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Thursday that he is “very disturbed” by reports that the Obama administration has begun preparing for a series of raids that would target for deportation families who fled violence in Central America.

“Our nation has always been a beacon of hope, a refuge for the oppressed,” the Vermont senator said in a statement. “We cannot turn our backs on that essential element of who we are as a nation. We need to take steps to protect children and families seeking refuge here, not cast them out.”

The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that the nationwide campaign, to be carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as soon as early January, could affect hundreds of families who have flocked to the United States since the start of last year. The ICE operation would target only adults and children who have been ordered removed from the United States by an immigration judge.

As he competes against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, Sanders has pledged, if elected president, to aggressively use executive action to offer protections to undocumented immigrants against deportation as he seeks comprehensive reform from Congress.

In polls, he lags far behind Clinton among both Latino and black voters and has been stepping up efforts to make inroads into those communities.

“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?” Sanders said in his statement. “How far would we go to protect them?”

Another Democratic candidate, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, also spoke out on the plan being developed by the Department of Homeland Security.

“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. “We must put an end to these mindless deportations.”

The Washington Post’s Jose A. DelReal contributed to this story.

© 2015, The Washington Post

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Ken Morris

Sorry, Bernie is wrong on this one–and appears to be pandering to people like me who wish he was right.

The problem with Bernie’s “humanitarianism” is that those targeted for deportation have already had their cases heard by an immigration judge, and the judge has ruled against allowing them to remain. That is, they have already had the opportunity to make their cases for refugee status, but lost their cases.

Maybe the legal burden of qualifying as a refugee in the US is too strict (I suspect it is), and maybe those claiming it lack adequate legal representation. If so, the laws should be changed to correct these problems.

However, once a law is in place and a court has ruled, sorry, even a president isn’t empowered to violate the court’s ruling. Obama is doing what he has to according to the laws of the land, and Bernie needs to respect that–however differently he may wish the laws and rulings were.

Bernie is right to feel compassion for these people, but he’s wrong to urge anyone to violate a court order. If you trample on the rule of law, the next thing you know is that guys like Bernie won’t even be allowed to run for president. You gotta abide by the law or the whole system crumbles.

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Brian Donovan

Why is this news outlet not covering the story that the CR government has begun deportation proceedings against dozens of the stranded Cubans??? Doesn’t make CR look good??? You could knock me over with a feather.

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Bruce Hubert

Who is going to pay to support these immigrants and their children. They are coming for economic reasons primarily to make money and send money back home to their families.

The USA has 19 TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT and is getting buy as the dollar is a reserve currency which temporarily allows the USA to print money.

I suggest Bernie Sanders form a non profit where people who feel like him can donate their own money to his non profit and support these immigrants .

Asking over taxed Americans to pay more to support these people is not constitutional. Central America is poor and will always be poor, nothing has changed over the last 30 years and nothing will change. The culture and corruption in these countries creates poverty. End of story.

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Sanders is the only viable candidate not bought and paid for by wealthy interests. He is the only candidate for president with the integrity to do the right things for everyone other than only those with money and influence. As such, the media continues to lie and marginalize him in order to make the public believe he has no chance to beat Clinton – the preferred choice of the 1%.

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Brian Donovan

Sorry but Bernie is not “viable.” He’s a quirky phenom just like Trump … He will be an asterisk in American political history and nothing more.

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