July 15, 2019
The crisis at our southern border isn't "manufactured," Vice President Mike Pence insisted. And he ought to know. America's second-in-command just flew back from a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, where he saw first-hand the damage Democrats have done by fighting the funding for ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement). "I knew we'd see a system that's overcrowded," he said. "...[but] that's why Congress has to act."
The vice president's time, which included a visit to a packed detention facility, turned out to be more fodder for the fake news machine. In a series of rapid-fire tweets, Mike Pence blasted the network's distortion of his trip. "CNN is so dishonest," Pence argued. "Today, we took reporters to a detention facility on the border for families and children and all told us they were being treated well." But that's not the story reporters told. Instead of showing the "compassionate care the American people are providing to vulnerable families," Pence went on, "CNN only played video of men in the temporary facility and didn't play any footage of the family facility at all... ignoring the excellent care being provided to families and children."
Part of the stop included some time at an overflowing facility for men, "many of whom have been arrested multiple times," he explained. But if you're looking for people to blame, don't point your finger at the Trump administration or Republicans. "These men were in a temporary holding area because Democrats in Congress have refused to fund additional bed space," Pence pointed out, a nod to the fiery House debate over humanitarian aid the border.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who was part of the delegation -- along with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) -- said one of his biggest takeaways was watching "brave law enforcement doing a heroic job." And they're doing that work, he explained, "in the face of constant slander & vilification from the Dems & the media. They deserve better. America is lucky to have them." Senate Democrats, on the other hand, refused even to come to the border with the vice president. "I challenge them to leave the comfort of D.C. and see this crisis for themselves. See what the cartels are doing. See what their own failure to act is causing. No more excuses."
Meanwhile, Senator Graham may have found one reason liberals can't seem to make time for a trip. They can't stand the idea that one of their biggest talking points -- family separation -- doesn't hold up under DNA testing. "They're doing a pilot program and checking [to see]: are these real families?" Graham said on Fox Sunday. At least 30 percent of the "parents," he pointed out, are just adults trying to game the system.
"They told us about 60 children that were recycled," Graham explained. "They picked the child up in Central America. They bring them to the United States. Everybody's released, and the child goes back to Central America to do it again. It's $8,000 for adults, $4,000 for families. If you bring a small child to America with you, we can only hold that child for 20 days," he said. "Since we don't want to separate families, we release them all. We released 52,000 people into the interior of the United States at that station this year alone because we don't have places to hold them and we can't keep the family together.
The word is out in Central America, you bring a small child to the United States, you're home free."
As for the conditions of the centers, Pence acknowledged, "This is tough stuff." But if it weren't for the Senate, House Republicans, and reasonable Democrats, it could be a lot worse. "The president drove hard to get a bipartisan humanitarian aid bill through the Congress -- $4.6 billion," he explained. No thanks to radical liberals in the House.
As Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) pointed out on "Washington Watch," the president has done the best he can with the resources he has. The real solution is passing comprehensive immigration reform. Until Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) puts her political agenda aside, hundreds of thousands of migrants will continue streaming over the border, overrunning our shelters and straining on an already understaffed ICE. And what happens? "Democrats whistle past the graveyard," a frustrated Harris told me. "The president said this crisis was coming up. And they didn't care."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.