Vice President Mike Pence announced on Tuesday that the president of Honduras told him the migrant caravan making its way through Mexico was organized by “leftist groups” and is being funded by the socialist government in Venezuela.
During a media availability in the Oval Office, President Donald Trump was asked about the caravan, including the possibility that there are terrorists among its ranks.
“There very well could be,” Trump replied.
Further queried if he knew for sure, the president responded that he had “very good information” and called on Pence to discuss a phone call he had with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez earlier in the day.
“At the president’s direction, I spoke to President Hernandez of Honduras, who told me the caravan that’s now making its way through Mexico, heading to the southern border was organized by leftist organizations and financed by Venezuela,” Pence said.
“The United States of America intervenes and prevents 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists from coming into our country every day,” the vice president added. “So it’s inconceivable that there would not be individuals from the Middle East as a part of this growing caravan.”
Asked about the connection he made between people from the Middle East and terrorists, Trump intervened saying that border patrol had intercepted both good and bad people from the Middle East seeking to come over the border illegally.
“But among the people they have intercepted, very recently, are people from the Middle East,” Trump said.
“Not even saying, bad or good, but some real bad ones.”
Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Geronimo Gutierrez told Fox News late last week his country “has evidence” the caravan is politically motivated.
“They are very well organized,” he told host Brett Baier on “Special Report.”
At a news conference at the State Department on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the Trump administration’s position that those participating in the caravan will not be permitted to illegally enter the U.S.
“The United States also has a message for those who are currently part of this caravan, or any caravan which follows: You will not be successful at getting into the United States illegally,” he said.
.@SecPompeo: “The migrant caravan is violating Mexico’s sovereignty laws and immigration procedures. @POTUS will not stand for this to happen to the United States.” https://t.co/K9RTa4pWfO pic.twitter.com/gpMp6HUbBD
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 23, 2018
“To those who say this is a hard-hearted stance, let’s not forget that the United States is a historically generous nation when it comes to immigration, where one million people per year are granted permanent legal status,” he further stated. “Over 33 million total are currently here who have immigrated to this country legally.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. permitted over 1.1 million people to immigrate to the country legally in 2017, which was down slightly from former President Barack Obama’s final year in office, when the number was closer to 1.2 million.
Of that total, approximately 53,000 were from Central America and 169,000 were from Mexico.
The Pew Research Center reported that the U.S. allows more people to immigrate than any other country in the world — by a wide margin.
The Center found, as of 2015, about 1 in 7 Americans (14 percent) were born in other countries, which is near a historic record set in the late 1800s when the percentage reached 14.8 percent.
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