A potential immigration enforcement operation targeting people who are in the United States illegally was denounced by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

Polis, a Democrat, issued a statement Thursday afternoon calling the raids, which could include Denver, "another failure of leadership by the (President Donald) Trump administration."

“If true, these reports are of great concern," he said in the statement. " ... Instead of working with Congress to find a real, comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system, the president is unfortunately focused on creating uncertainty and fear. These actions make our communities less safe and increase distrust of law enforcement.

"Colorado celebrates our immigrant communities, and we will not allow the public safety of Coloradans to be held hostage by the Trump administration.”

US poised to begin immigration sweep in Denver, other major US cities

Democratic members of Colorado's congressional delegation took to Twitter on Thursday to denounce the raids, calling them heart-breaking and anti-American.

"My heart breaks for the families who came to America hoping to find safe harbor, and instead are being used by this administration for political gain," U.S. Rep. Jason Crow tweeted. "We stand with our immigrant neighbors and refuse to let this administration perpetuate a culture of fear in Colorado."

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter tweeted similarly, calling the Trump administration's strategy one of "fear, intimidation and cruelty" and saying that it "goes against America's founding values."

Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, one of nearly two dozen Democrats running for president, tweeted: "Raiding homes, stoking fear and tearing apart families is at war with who we are as a country and will do nothing to address the humanitarian crisis on our border or our broken immigration system. ." 

The operation would target people with final deportation orders, including families whose immigration cases were fast-tracked by judges in 10 major cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Houston, San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami.

CNN and NBC have reported that Denver is among the targeted cities, and Colorado U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette tweeted Thursday that ICE is planning roundups in Denver.

The Gazette's Erin Prater, Ellie Mulder and Mark Harden, as well as The Associated Press, contributed.

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