LAS VEGAS, Jan. 7 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on the Obama administration today to end the recently started deportation raids and instead extend Temporary Protected Status to families who have fled violence in Central America.
“Raids are not the answer. We cannot continue to employ inhumane tactics involving rounding up and deporting tens of thousands of immigrant families to address a crisis that requires compassion and humane solutions,” Sanders wrote in a letter to President Obama, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldaña.
More than 80 percent of the migrant women detained following a wave of immigration in the summer of 2014 were found to have a credible threat to their safety if they were returned home. Yet, 80 percent of these cases have ended with the Department of Homeland Security ordering these same families deported back to the dangerous conditions they fled. It has been reported that as many as 83 Central American immigrants recently denied asylum were murdered within months of their return.
Citing the extreme violence that these families face, Sanders urged the administration to use executive authority to protect those fleeing unsafe countries in Central America by extending Temporary Protected Status. By granting Temporary Protected Status, the Department of Homeland Security could provide employment authorization and protection from deportation for a significant portion of these vulnerable people.
“Our policies should be consistent with our historical commitment to provide protection to those fleeing violence and persecution. At the core of these policies should be compassion for unaccompanied minors and victims of domestic violence and criminal gang activity. I urge you to immediately cease these raids and not deport families back to countries where a death sentence awaits,” Sanders wrote.