Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s Whip List: Where Dems stand on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Friends, foes spar in fight on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Sanders: 'What do the Russians have on Mr. Trump?' MORE (I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley have condemned reported plans by the Obama administration to deport hundreds of illegal immigrants.
“I am very disturbed by reports that the government may commence raids to deport families who have fled here to escape violence in Central America," Sanders said in a statement Thursday.
O'Malley tweeted: ".@DHSgov holiday plans for raids to round up/deport Central American refugees fleeing death are wrong. We are a better nation than this."
In a statement released shortly afterward, O'Malley said the proposed raids were "completely at odds with our character as a nation," and added, "we must put an end to these mindless deportations."
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has been more cautious than Sanders or O'Malley with regard to immigration policy in general, has not commented on the reported deportation raids.
Clinton's campaign did not immediately respond to emails from The Hill on the issue.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security is planning a series of large-scale deportation raids as soon as early January, targeting Central American families who crossed the southern border into the U.S. since early last year.
"Our nation has always been a beacon of hope, a refuge for the oppressed," Sanders said in his 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."