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Vice President Pence Visits U.S.-Mexico Border In Calexico

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol personnel at the El Centro Station, April 30, 2018.
Kris Arciaga
Vice President Mike Pence speaks to Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol personnel at the El Centro Station, April 30, 2018.
Vice President Pence Visits U.S.-Mexico Border In Calexico
Vice President Pence Visits U.S.-Mexico Border In Calexico GUEST:Steve Walsh, military reporter, KPBS News

As members of the migrant caravan waited Monday, Vice President Mike Pence toured the new border fence construction in Calexico. Vice President Mike Pence spoke with the people in Calexico about the Trump administrations want to build the border wall. He also was poke about the problems that the caravan immigrants are facing and he blamed the activates. Joining me is Steve Walsh who covered the vice president's trip. Welcome, Steve. Tell us about the border fence construction the vice president saw yesterday. Where is it and what is it replacing? >> It is in Calexico. I think it is 30 feet high. It looks like a big wrought iron fence. It is double the size. This is 30 feet and replacing the old legacy wall that is helicopter landing net that is only 18 feet Hall Tal. They say you cannot see with concrete to dig under. They've got close to a mile of it built so far. >>> This is not part of president donald trump's border wall project? >> No it is not. You have to be clear. This is a prototype that you are seeing in San Diego. This is something that was in the planning stages for a number of years. Maybe as far back as 2009. It pre-dates the Trump administration. >>> What message did Vice President Mike Pence bring to the border patrol agents. Did you think them for their work? >> He did. You can always tell. It had the feeling of a campaign rally. They mentioned about 300 border patrol agents there from El Centro and Yuma. Whenever a politician begins speaking haltingly, you know that there is an applause line coming up and there were several of those. He brought greetings from President Donald Trump. He said the country is praying for them. It had the feel of a campaign rally. >>> I want to ask you because I know one of the headlines that came out of this visit was that Vice President Mike Pence said the border wall will be built. He promised that once again, didn't he? >> He did. He was saying something like walls were, we believe in walls. He believes it is a physical manifestation of the presidents commitment to defend the southern border. I have never heard physical manifestation in the political speech before. >>> What did Vice President Mike Pence have to say about the caravan of immigrants waiting for asylum in San Ysidro? >> This is what he said about them. He said the people in the caravan were victims of agenda driven media, activists who were using their plight and compared them to being manipulated by smugglers. He said it is not their fault. He praised Mexico for lowering the number of people that were coming in. >>> Did he elaborate on the kind of policy changes the Trump administration wants to make to make sure that there are no more caravans of migrants heading over here. >> He went down the list and talk about catch and release. Where people are taken into custody on these asylum cases and they are allowed to come back for their court date. I think you will hear the previous guest talking about a backlog. I don't know how you keep everyone in custody. He talked about ending international asylum policies that require people to stay in the country they first arrive at. That is an international change. I think that's mostly targeted at Mexico. He railed against chain migration, visa lottery, cracking down on sanctuary cities, and the Department of Justice is suing California over that topic. >>> I assume there was no daylight between president donald trump's -- President Donald Trump's policies and what Vice President Mike Pence talked about yesterday . >> No that was really a rally kind of appeal bear. It was essentially going down the list of everything that President Donald Trump was saying. It made reference to the California National Guard. I guess that is a rare moment of cooperation. He said that 250 troops are expected to be at the border within the next week or so. >>> I have been speaking with KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh. Steve, thank you. >>> Thanks, Maureen.

Vice President Mike Pence stood at the U.S. border with Mexico, some 100 miles east of San Diego Monday, and said federal agents will no longer "catch and release" those persons violating immigration laws.

After receiving a briefing on the construction of the border wall from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, Pence addressed Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol employees at the nearby El Centro Border Patrol Station, 18 miles north of the new replacement border fence under construction in Calexico.

During his speech, the vice president reinforced the need to curb immigration, legal or otherwise.

RELATED: Facts To Know About The Border Wall After VP Pence’s Visit

"Under this president, this administration, we will not rest until Congress passes legislation that will modernize our immigration laws and remove the message and the incentive of people to the south to try to enter our country by any means," Pence said.

Pence specifically mentioned "cracking down on catch and release," the unofficial name for a protocol where unlawful immigrants are released while they wait for a hearing with an immigration judge. He also said the U.S. should end chain migration and lottery immigration systems, combat so-called sanctuary cities and fund a border wall.

Plans for the Calexico border fence, a replacement barrier, began in 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported. President Donald Trump sowed confusion last month when he tweeted photos of the Calexico construction and wrote "Great briefing this afternoon on the start of our Southern Border WALL!"

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol personnel at the El Centro Station, April 30, 2018.
Kris Arciaga
Vice President Mike Pence speaks to Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol personnel at the El Centro Station, April 30, 2018.

CBP officials had previously emphasized the Calexico border barrier shouldn't be confused with the yet-to-be-built wall that Trump made a central promise of his presidential campaign.

RELATED: Vice President Mike Pence To Visit Calexico Border Construction Monday

Air Force Two arrived at Naval Air Facility El Centro Monday morning. Pence departed by motorcade to nearby Calexico to tour the barrier construction site joined by Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, Director of Field Operations Pete Flores and Yuma Branch Director Sylvia Carrizozo.

Afterward, the vice president made his remarks to DHS and Border Patrol personnel. He discussed during his speech the so-called caravan of migrants that arrived at the San Ysidro port of entry on Monday, an occurrence that "cries out for action."

"As President Trump said on Saturday night, this situation is a direct result of our weak immigration laws and our porous border.

This caravan, like those who have gone before, is also rightly understood as a deliberate attempt to undermine the laws of this country and the sovereignty of the United States," Pence said.

The caravan migrants, many of them fleeing gang violence in Honduras, are seeking asylum in the U.S. Pence said they're being exploited by "open- border political activists and an agenda-driven media."

Pence made his way to Imperial County from Los Angeles, where he arrived Saturday afternoon for a private tour of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. He also attended fundraisers in Malibu and Beverly Hills.

Vice President Mike Pence To Visit Calexico Border Construction Monday