WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders called on the White House to end deportation raids and extend temporary protected status to families who fled violence in Central America.
Sanders, I-Vt., said the "inhumane" roundups are not an answer to protecting families who have migrated to the United States since summer 2014. He said more than 80 percent of women detained after that wave "were found to have a credible threat to their safety if they were returned home."
Granting temporary protected status would provide employment authorization and protection from deportation, he said.
"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 Barack Obama, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana.
On Monday, DHS reported that 121 people who are in the United States illegally -- most in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas -- had been arrested by federal authorities for immediate deportation.
Sanders urged the Obama administration to implement policies "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 said.