Vice President Mike Pence asked Credit Union National Association Government Affairs Conference (CUNA GAC) attendees Tuesday to put pressure on members of Congress in the coming days to support President Donald Trump’s southern border emergency declaration.
Pence identified the “crisis of illegal immigration, drugs, dangerous criminals, and human trafficking” at the southern border. “It’s a crisis like we’ve never seen before,” he said as he spoke to those attending the Credit Union National Association’s Government Affairs Conference.
“Seventy percent of illegal immigrants report being victims of violence on their journey to our southern border,” Pence told the group. “And according to Doctors Without Borders, nearly one-third of women traveling to our southern border report being sexually assaulted on the journey.”
“In the last five months alone, Customs and Border Protection has seen a more than 300 percent increase in the number of families apprehended compared to the same period one year ago,” he went on. “My fellow Americans, every day we don’t secure our border, we are allowing the crisis to worsen and more lives to be endangered and exploited.”
Drug cartels and smugglers are exploiting weaknesses at the southern border. The vice president brought this to the attention of the crowd. He cited statistics showing as of 2016 drug overdose has become the leading cause of death for Americans under 55 years of age, “In 2016, all across America, some 174 people lost their lives to drug overdose every single day.”
He emphasized the effect the crisis at the southern border is having on “every community in America” and cited it as the reason President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the southern border.
Members of Congress have expressed their intention to block the president’s declaration.
“Despite the fact that he has clear statutory authority under the National Emergencies Act, some in Congress are actually trying to stop the president from exercising the authority that Congress gave him to address what is an undeniable humanitarian crisis on our southern border,” said Pence.
Pence let the group know that once he left them, he would be going to Capitol Hill to continue discussions on supporting president’s declaration.
“A vote against the president’s emergency declaration is a vote against border security,” said Pence. “A vote against the president’s emergency declaration is a vote to deny the real humanitarian and security crisis that is happening at our southern border.”
“We’re calling on every member of the United States Senate: Set politics aside. Stand up for border security. Stand with this president. And put the safety and security of the American people first,” Pence said to applause from the crowd.
“I encourage each one of you, as you meet with representatives in the House and Senate, just encourage them to take a stand for border security,” he encouraged the group, recognizing that they would be going up to Congressional offices in the coming days. “Encourage them to stand with this president as he’s taking such decisive action to secure our border.”