Photo: AP

Responding to a Reuters report of upcoming immigration raids targeting hundreds of women and children, Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders called on President Obama to halt the large-scale deportations.

“I oppose the painful and inhumane business of locking up and deporting families who have fled horrendous violence in Central America and other countries,” said Sanders in a statement. “Sending these people back into harm’s way is wrong.”

Clinton similarly condemned the deportations, saying she is “against large scale raids that tear families apart and sow fear in communities.”

“I am concerned about recent news reports, and believe we should not be taking kids and families from their homes in the middle of the night,” said Clinton. “Large scale raids are not productive and do not reflect who we are as a country.”

Earlier this year, the Obama administration began practicing a “surge” strategy to illegal immigration, hoping to deter future migrants with dramatic raids. From Reuters:

An ICE spokeswoman said the agency does not “confirm or deny the existence of specific ongoing or future law enforcement actions.” The spokeswoman said immigrants who arrived illegally after Jan. 1, 2014 are priorities for removal.

Federal resources were strained in 2014 under a wave of illegal migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, especially women and children fleeing violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

The planned new raids are in response to a renewed surge of illegal entries by Central American women traveling with their children.

“I’ve also spoken with many children who have told me with tears streaming down their faces that they live in daily fear that their parents will be taken away,” said Sanders. “I urge President Obama to use his executive authority to protect families by extending Temporary Protective Status for those who fled from Central America.”