Vice President Mike Pence will be making another visit to the United States-Mexico border early next week. The border stop will be the second time Pence has visited the border this year as he visited the Texas-Mexico border in February.
As Fox 5 reports, the visit comes at the end of a fundraising swing in California which begins this weekend. Pence will be accompanied by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy during visits to Beverly Hills and Malibu.
Per Washington Examiner:
Pence paid a visit to the Texas-Mexico border in February, and President Trump traveled to California close to the U.S.-Mexican border in March to look at prototypes for a potential border wall.
Border security has long been a priority of Trump’s.
Trump’s longtime desire for the construction a wall along the southern border recently hit a snag in dealing with Congress for funding the project. The omnibus bill he signed last month included $1.6 billion in funding for the wall, although Trump had originally wanted $25 billion designated for the project.
Earlier this month National Guard troops were deployed to help secure the border.
Pence’s visit to the border in February coincided with a caravan of immigrants looking to seek asylum in the United States. The same caravan, carrying about 500 people, is expected to cross into the United States over the weekend, Fox News reports:
Roughly 100 remaining members of the immigrant caravan from Central American arrived in Tijuana, Mexico on Thursday.
Sometime this weekend, the group of 500 Honduran, Guatemalan and Salvadorans refugees are expected to cross the pedestrian bridge into the U.S. at the San Ysidro Port of Entry just south of San Diego to ask for asylum.
The group is a mix of women, children, families and young men. Rather than attempt to cross the border illegally over a fence, most will present themselves at the port to a customs agent and request asylum.
For context, while the caravan of 500 to 1,500 sought and received publicity, in March alone the Border Patrol apprehended 3,786 unaccompanied children and family units, up from 2,978 in February.
This is a lengthy process that begins with an interview with a Customs and Border Protection officer to screen those claiming asylum. The bar for this interview is extremely low and requires no actual evidence other than the claim. A CBP official said the agency will process “as many per day as we can.” That could be roughly 100.
If passed, the family or individual will likely be handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be transported to a detention facility, where a U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service officer will conduct a more through interview to establish if the individual has a “credible fear of persecution” if forced to return to their county.
Again, evidence is not required and an overwhelming majority are given a date or notice to appear in immigration court. Even those who are denied, are still given the right to see a judge.
Click here for more information concerning the caravan and asylum laws allowing entry into the U.S.
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan has asked Congress to change immigration laws to address and close “legislative loopholes” allowing this sort of immigration tactic from being implemented.
During an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Homan shared more insight on the process.
Per Fox News Insider:
The caravan is tenting in facilities in Tijuana, Baja California Norte – across from the state of California, and reportedly preparing to head to the physical border within days.
There, Tucker Carlson said, the migrants will likely claim asylum based on “fear” of their previous conditions and be admitted to the United States.
Carlson and Homan said many immigrants can use the claim of fear to gain asylum status.
“If they’re really seeking asylum [from Honduras], they just passed through a safe nation — Mexico,” Homan said. “They could very easily claim asylum there.”
Carlson said the asylum claim is “clearly a scam.”
Homan said Congress must take action to close “legislative loopholes” that allow “family units” of asylum-seekers to be released into the U.S. for later court dates many do not attend.
Homan said individual illegal immigrants can be held indefinitely until their court date with an immigration judge, however he added that the Ninth Circuit limited the time “family units” can be held in custody.
“Smugglers figure out these loopholes,” he said, adding that he sent a comprehensive list of fixes to Congress “months ago.”
To date, Homan said, they have not been acted upon.