Vice President Mike Pence, during a July 10 visit to a farm just outside Lemoore, touted the benefits a new trade agreement with U.S. neighbors that will generate an additional $300 million in dairy exports from United States.
He also called on Congressional leaders for a solution to overflowing migrant detention facilities on the southern border.
Pence was the special guest speaker of America First Policies’ second in a series of trade policy events at the farm of Doug and Julie Freitas on Highway 41 just west of the Lemoore city limits.
Approximately 800 people attended, including former Congressman David Valadao, a Hanford dairyman and Republican who lost his re-election bid last November.
The farm was surrounded by a protective wall of hay bales that kept the event private from those who didn’t have tickets to attend. A panel discussion was led by American First Policies senior policy advisor Curtis Ellis and speakers included Ted McKinney, undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
On the USMCA trade agreement, Pence said “it’s a win for American farmers, it’s a win-win for California, it’s a win for America.”
Pence said the San Joaquín Valley is one of the most dynamic agriculture regions in the county.
Following his speech, Pence told the media that he is encouraged that Congress will move the U.S.-México-Canada trade agreement forward, then to be signed by President Donald J. Trump.
Pence said the USMCA trade agreement is a “tremendous opportunity that we have to expand and grow our agriculture economy.”
He said the USMCA has some of the most significant labor provisions of any trade agreement in American history.
“It has much to endorse it to conservatives, to progressive to everybody in between,” Pence said. “But I came here to California to meet with all these great farmers and to let them know how important their voice here in California would be to advance this vitally important trade deal.”
Pence said the USMCA alone will increase dairy exports from this country by as much as $300 million.
When asked about the health conditions of immigrant children at detentions facilities at the south border, Pence said there is a crisis adding that he was scheduled to visit one those detentions facilities in Texas on July 12.
“We have a crisis on our southern border, President Trump and I’ve been making that point for the last six months,” Pence said.
“We are grateful to Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and the leadership in both parties that just approved $4.6 billion in humanitarian aid to support the efforts of our Customs and Border Protection,” Pence said adding that “But make no mistake about it, out detention facilities are overwhelmed.”
“I expect to see that when I visit McAllen, Texas one of our busiest areas along our southern border,” Pence said of his schedule trip for July 12.
“And Congress needs to do more,” Pence said adding that any allegations of abuse of children or lack of proper care, he knew those allegations were being properly investigated by the Department of Homeland Security.
About the conditions of those facilities and reports even from members of Congress about those conditions, Pence said “our system was simply never designed to dealt with this and our Custom and Border Protection had been doing compassionate work at our border providing care to people who made the long and dangerous journey north.”
In several instances Pence said the Custom and Border Protection “provides care and compassion” to those people coming north from Central América who are being entice by human traffickers to make the trip north.
“It is really contemptable that some in Congress had referred to U.S. detention facilities as concentrations camps. That’s an outrage,” Pence said. “The Nazis killed people, our Custom and Border protection personnel save lives every day.”
Early this month Congresswoman Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez called those detentions facilities concentrations camps on Twitter.
Pence said that during his scheduled July 12 visit to the detention facility in McAllen, Texas, “we are not only going to bring members of the Senate in, but we are going to bring the cameras in.”
“We are going to let people see the facility, a facility that is providing care, providing hygiene, providing healthcare, and support. But we are also going to see a system that is overwhelmed,” he said. “That’s why Congress has to take one more step and that is close the loopholes in our asylum laws that human traffickers are using to exploit vulnerable families.”
Pence said they are going to continue to call on “congress to work with us to reform our asylum laws and to take that magnet away that human traffickers are using to exploit vulnerable families.”
“Once we address that crisis, let me be clear we are going to fix this broken immigration system once and for all,” said Pence, who criticized California for providing healthcare to some undocumented immigrants.
“Again let’s be clear, human traffickers are enticing people to make the long and dangerous journey north by loophole in our law. And frankly offering free healthcare as many democrats has done offering to make it illegal immigration legal, or policies that amount for open borders will only empower human traffickers to exploit more families and it’s a wrong policy,” Pence said.
“A nation without borders is not a nation. President trump and I are absolutely determent to secure our borders, to provide compassionate and humanitarian care to those who present themselves at out border and reform our laws and take the tools away but offering free healthcare to illegal immigrants is not the answer and it would make things worse.
Pence’s Valley visit included a private luncheon fundraiser at Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant on Highway 198 at Interstate 5.