Mike Pence tells Central America to do more to stop migrants

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the leaders of three Central American nations Thursday that they must do more to stop the flow of migrants who enter the United States illegally.

“This exodus must end,” Mr. Pence said. “It is a threat to the security to the United States, and just as we respect your borders and your sovereignty, we insist that you respect ours.”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, center, walks with his wife Karen as they are escorted by Guatemala’s Vice Foreign Minister Pablo Cesar Garcia Saenz, upon arrival to an air force base in Guatemala City, on Thursday. Pence will meet with leaders from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras on immigration issues. | Photo Credit: AP

“In the last year alone, we welcomed more than 1.1 million legal immigrants into our country and our communities, including nearly 50,000 legal immigrants from GuatemalaHonduras and El Salvador last year,” he said.

But, Pence added, the U.S. is determined to act strongly against those who don’t.

“Tell your people that coming to the United States illegally will only result in a hard journey and a harder life,” Pence said.

Referring to the U.S. policies that led to the separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents, many of them from Central America, Pence noted President Donald Trump has reversed that approach.

Sanchez Ceren said one of his ministers had confirmed that the minors “have their vital needs covered.”

But he added that “immediate reunification is vital for their psychological and emotional health.”

Earlier in the day, Pence was in Ecuadorwhose leader he praised for improving relations with the U.S.

“The Ecuadorean people have shown remarkable compassion,” Pence said, noting that 350,000 Venezuelans have fled to Ecuador, a country of a little more than 16 million people. “We must all take strong action to restore democracy in Venezuela.”

Moreno said a solution to Venezuela’s crisis is ultimately up to its own people, but added that he and Pence agreed to work together in coordination with the Organization of American States to promote civil rights and fundamental freedoms throughout Latin America.

Winning back trade privileges rejected by Ecuador’s former president, Rafael Correa, were a central part of the talks for Moreno.

Mr. Pence said relations have improved under Moreno’s leadership and noted their shared fight against international drug traffickers. He credited the new president with reversing a decade of failed policy and rooting out corruption.

During their private meeting, Pence raised the issue of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who Ecuador has granted asylum, U.S. officials said.

Assange, whose leak of classified U.S. documents infuriated U.S. government officials, has been a sticking point between the two nations. He has been living in asylum inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012.

Pence and Moreno did not mention Assange in their public comments.


Zachary Baliff

THe Kootneeti Team - White House Watch

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