(CNSNews.com) – During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper,” Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday that Mexico has done more to secure the border in the past two weeks than Democrats in Congress have done in the last 10 years.
“The truth is, in the last 10 days, Mexico has done more to secure our southern border than Democrats in Congress have done in the last 10 years, and that has to change,” he said, pointing specifically to Mexico’s agreement to have “100 percent of asylum seekers from Central America remain in Mexico.”
Pence said that “90-plus percent of the people that apply for asylum in this country are denied.”
“They actually don't have a claim for asylum,” he said. “And so the president took steps earlier this year, declared a national emergency. We're building a wall. We will have 400 miles built.”
“But what does he want with the asylum laws? What does he want changed with the asylum laws?” Tapper asked.
“What we want – to end the days where people believe they can come into the country, make a claim of asylum from oppression or deprivation or violence in Central America or elsewhere, and then be released into the country on their own recognizance, only to vanish into the nation -- with now this -- the president's efforts at enforcing our laws, or that -- that 90 percent of the people never show up for their hearing in the months ahead,” Pence said.
Tapper and Pence disagreed about the percentage of people who don’t show up for immigration hearings.
“Well, most of them do show up to their hearings,” Tapper said. “I don't think that that number is accurate about 90 percent not showing up. I think a majority do show up. I mean, they all should show up. It should be 100 percent show up. ”
“Well, it is actually not true,” Pence said. “People with a hearing that is scheduled six months, a year, 18 months later, the overwhelming majority, plus-90 percent, don't show up, and people in Central America know this. I have been down to those countries known as the Northern Triangle.”
Later during the interview, Tapper cited DOJ data on the percentage of people who don’t show up for their hearings.
“You said a second ago that 90 percent of the people who get detained don't show up for their court hearings. So, the Justice Department data says it is 60 percent to 70 percent,” Tapper said.
Tapper asked Pence whether providing toothbrushes, blankets, and medicine are part of how the Trump administration treats children in CBP custody. This after showing a video of a DOJ attorney Sarah Fabian being questioned by a judge about the administration’s failure to provide toothbrushes, soap, or showers to illegal immigrant children.
“Aren't toothbrushes and blanket and medicine, basic conditions for kids, aren't they a part of how the United States of America, the Trump administration treats children?” Tapper asked.
“Well, of course they are, Jake,” the vice president said, adding that he couldn’t speak to what the lawyer was saying. “It's one of the reasons we asked for more bed space when we were negotiating with Congress” during the government shutdown.
“And Democrats in Congress refused to expand the bed space and the capacity for us to detain people,” Pence said.
“It is one of the reasons why we continue to call on Congress to give DHS, Customs and Border Protection additional resources at the border,” the vice president said.
“This is the wealthiest nation in the world. We have money to give toothpaste and soap and blankets to these kids in this facility in El Paso County. Right now, we do,” Tapper said.
“Well, of course -- of course we do,” Pence said.
“So why aren't we?” Tapper asked.
“My point is, it's all a part of the appropriations process,” Pence said. “Congress needs to provide additional support to deal with the crisis at our southern border, but we have to get to the root causes. We've got to close the loopholes that human traffickers as we speak are using to entice vulnerable families to take the long and dangerous journey north.”