Vice President Mike Pence declared Friday from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Headquarters that the White House and President Donald Trump stand with ICE “100%.”
“I stand before you today at a time when some people are actually calling for the abolition of ICE,” said Pence, who received a briefing from the agency before taking the podium. “In this White House, let me be clear, we are with you 100 percent.”
Pence referenced President Donald Trump’s remarks from a Thursday night Montana rally, “We always stand proudly with the brave heroes of ICE and our Border Patrol.” Attendees applauded the remark.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen introduced Pence at the event and he, in turn, praised her work at Homeland Security.
Pence offered thanks from the President and the American people, “You’re on the front lines of enforcing America’s laws, ensuring our – the vitality of this nation and the security of our people, and you have our thanks.”
He praised the 20,000 Department of Homeland Security employees who “stand for the rule of law in this nation and stand for the interests of the America people” every day.
“Every day men and women of ICE also confront criminal illegal immigrants who endanger our communities and prey on our most vulnerable,” said Pence. He said they have fought dangerous smugglers, terrorists, vicious gangs like MS-13, human smugglers, child traffickers, and drug cartels.
Pence cited statistics on ICE activity. In 2017 ICE made 4,818 gang arrests, including 796 members of MS-13. “There were nearly 33,000 arrests by ICE personnel, criminal arrests, individuals who came into this country illegally and then pursued crime against our people,” said Pence. “Nearly a million pounds of narcotics were seized by ICE agents in 2017 alone.”
He said most touching to him were the 518 human trafficking victims that have been rescued and “904 children subject to child exploitation were rescued by ICE agents all across America.”
“We are enforcing our laws and protecting the most vulnerable,” said Pence.
The vice president commended the hard work that ICE agents do, often without regard to their personal safety. “President Trump and I and the American people understand that, behind these statistics, in this work you also — you do so oftentimes without regard to your personal safety.”
“In 2017, attacks on your fellow DHS colleagues at Customs and Border Protection increased by nearly 75 percent and at ICE, assaults on your officers nearly tripled in 2017,” said Pence. “But remarkably, but not surprisingly, these attacks have not diminished your commitment or your courage or your determination to enforce our laws.”
“These challenges and the challenges you face have only strengthened the resolve of this president and this administration to stand with you every step of the way,” Vice President Pence said to applause from the crowd.
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