Vice President Mike Pence addressed state and local leaders on a conference call Wednesday morning, reiterating President Donald Trump’s insistence that the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border is a “humanitarian crisis.”
According to a source on the call, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway spoke for several minutes about drug and human trafficking across the U.S. southern border, Mexico’s offers to migrant asylum seekers, and the president’s immigration proposals before turning the call over to Pence.
Pence started his portion of the call by calling high levels of illegal immigration a “humanitarian and security crisis,” noting that approximately thousands of immigrants are apprehended at the border each day. (RELATED: Fact Check: Three Claims From Trump’s Oval Office Address)
The vice president also repeated several statistics used by President Donald Trump in his Oval Office address on Tuesday night, such as the claim that 90 percent of heroin in the U.S. comes across the border and that approximately 60 percent of women who make the trek to the border are sexually assaulted on their journey.
Ahead of the president’s Wednesday meeting with congressional leaders at 3 p.m., Pence called on Democrats to make clear what types of “border security” they are willing to support and urged them to make a deal with Republicans to reopen the government, adding that Democrats have thus far refused to negotiate during the shutdown.
With regard to the shutdown, Pence claimed that the administration is doing what they can to alleviate pressure on government workers who are not receiving paychecks. The administration is making sure tax refunds and food stamps are processed during the shutdown.