Pence visits migrant detention center near southern border, says ICE raids will target criminals

Vice President Mike Pence visited a migrant detention center in Texas on Friday to “see firsthand the humanitarian crisis” at the southern border, while insisting that the upcoming Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not target random individuals.

Pence -- who was joined by lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee -- visited the Donna Holding Facility amid concerns about the migrant surge and poor conditions at detention centers. The centers include people who have crossed into the U.S. illegally, and those claiming asylum from Central America.

Speaking to Fox News during his trip Friday, Pence also said the upcoming ICE raids this weekend will not be done at random and will be focused on “removing those deported by courts.”

“First let's remember that we are a nation of laws,” Pence told Fox News' Mark Meredith. “All of those who will be removed from this country have been fully adjudicated, subject to an order from a judge to be in court.”


During the visit, Pence approached a small group of children and asked them in English – a handler translated to Spanish – if they were comfortable and being taken care of. The children nodded yes.

“God bless you,” Pence said before walking away, according to a pool report.

Earlier, the vice president called for securing the border to stop illegal immigration, calling it a “humanitarian crisis.”

“.@SecondLady and I are traveling down to Texas where we will see firsthand the humanitarian crisis at the border. We MUST secure our border for the safety of the American people and the victims of dangerous human trafficking cartels,” Pence tweeted Friday.

Later Friday, Pence participated in a roundtable briefing with Border Patrol agents at the McAllen Border Patrol Station in Texas.

The visit came as progressive Democrats testified on Capitol Hill, ripping into the Trump administration over the detention centers.

At the hearing, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Corte. D-N.Y., said, “This is a manufactured crisis because the cruelty is manufactured.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, shed tears as she recalled what she saw at the border, and she scolded Trump and others for using the phrase "illegal immigrants."


“No one is illegal,” she said. “That term is derogatory because it dehumanizes people. You can say any other forms of coming in without regulations or so forth but the use of illegal is disrespectful, and I ask my colleagues to try in so many ways not to dehumanize our immigrant neighbors who are trying to come in for a safe haven.”

Fox News’ Meghan Welsh and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.