Hillary Clinton calls for an end to U.S. immigration raids

U.S. Democractic candidate said the raids were divisive and sowing fear in immigrant communities

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U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called on Monday for an end to raids by U.S. officials to deport undocumented Central American families, saying they were divisive and sowing fear in immigrant communities.

Breaking with President Barack Obama, Clinton condemned the raids carried out by the Department of Homeland Security and released a plan that she said would help protect Central American families seeking asylum.

“I do not think the raids are an appropriate tool to enforce the immigration laws. In fact, I think they are divisive, they are sowing discord and fear,” Clinton said at the Iowa Brown and Black forum on minority issues.

Rivals for the Democratic nomination Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley have both spoken out against the raids, and participated in the forum.

Clinton had been slower to distance herself from the policy, though it has been condemned by many immigration groups and Democrats in Congress.

As she spoke at the forum, Clinton’s campaign released a statement and paper calling for a stop to the raids.

It also advocated government-funded counsels for all unaccompanied minors in immigration court and a long-term, comprehensive fix to asylum and refugee programs that would include more officers, translators and immigration judges, as well as investment in development in Central America.

“If the United States takes the lead in organizing a regional coalition to respond to this crisis, I believe we can make a serious difference,” Clinton said in a statement.