Vice President Mike Pence made clear Friday during a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas that the Trump administration remains committed to building a “physical barrier.”
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” near the Rio Grande River which aired on Monday, Pence told host Ainsley Earhardt that a wall is vital to U.S. security.
“President Trump has made a priority of border security, building a wall, beginning the process of reforming our immigration system,” Pence said.
“(B)ut,” he continued, “being here on the border, seeing the work that our border patrol does every day it just underscores the need for the Congress to come together and provide the funding for a border wall system that will enhance the security of our country, prevent the flow not only of illegal immigrants, but also individuals who represent a danger to our communities and the flow of illicit drugs.”
In response to Democrats, who say a virtual wall is something they could get behind, Pence stated, “President Trump made a commitment to the American people that we’re going to build a wall. That means we’re going to have a physical barrier on our southern border.”
The vice president told Earhardt that while the administration has made strides in reducing the number of illegal border crossings, which have fallen 50 percent since Trump took office, illegal entries into the United States remain a major problem.
“The American people deserve to know that we still apprehend 1100 people attempting to come into this country every single day,” Pence said. “And in this district alone, 85 individuals have been incarcerated for their association with MS-13. And so we have real challenges.”
Pence also reaffirmed the administration’s position that building a wall and increasing border security will remain tied to addressing the permanent legal status of those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as other reforms to the immigration system for which Trump is calling. These include an end to chain migration and the visa lottery program.
“The president took a stand for the Constitution and the rule of law and — but he set a timetable to March the 5th, to say, now Congress has to come together and work in such a way to not only solve the DACA problem, but also — to keep the promises that he made to the American people,” said Pence.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who toured the border with Pence on Friday, told Fox News last month she is “confounded” by the Democrats’ resistance to building a border wall.
“The wall works. We have evidence and figures that show that,” she said.
“When the wall went up in Yuma (Arizona) and San Diego, illegal entries went down 95 percent,” Nielsen added. “I must remind the viewers that in 2006, it was a bipartisan approach to securing our country.”
The Trump official was referring to the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which passed both chambers of Congress by large majorities.
Among those who voted for the legislation were then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“It’s been bipartisan before. It’s needed. It works,” Nielsen stated. “We’ve heard from the men and women that are on the front lines, that that is what they need as part of their toolkit to secure our borders.”
There are currently approximately 650 miles of fencing in various forms along the approximately 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border.
Around 350 miles is pedestrian fencing, usually about 15-feet-tall — like in San Diego — and 300 miles consists of vehicle barriers.
Eight prototypes of President Donald Trump’s “big, beautiful wall” were completed in October near San Diego.
Each is 30 feet high. Four are made of concrete, while the four others incorporate concrete among other construction materials.
Trump is expected to visit the location where the prototypes were built and tested soon and make a final decision on which version will be used.
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