Tuesday on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Vice President Mike Pence told CNN correspondent Dana Bash that the Trump administration was reuniting migrant children with their parent “in a way that’s very careful and very thoughtful.”
Partial transcript as follows:
BASH: Let’s move on to something else going on and that’s at the southern border. It looks like your administration is probably going to miss a court deadline of today to reunite all children under the age of 5 with their parents. If you are going to separate families isn’t it your responsibility as the leader of the government, isn’t it the administration’s responsibility to figure out how to get them back together?
PENCE: Yes. We have been working very diligently in that regard. I think 102 children that were separated from adults of that number, as of today’s deadline I believe we will have reunited 54 of those children.
BASH: But that means that over 50 children under the age of 5 — you have children, I have a child — are not with their parents. Is that acceptable?
PENCE: Well, not necessarily the case.
BASH: But should even one child under the 5?
PENCE: Well, what we don’t ever want to do is return a vulnerable child, age 3 age 4 to someone who may be a threat to them, who may be a human trafficker, who is not their parent. And frankly, the number has gone down from 102 to somewhere in the 70s through our vetting process. We have actually in this process found that people who represented themselves as parents turned out not to be the parents. We have found out that there were individuals with strong criminal backgrounds that had children with them as they crossed the border.
BASH: But Ron Johnson, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in the senate, a fellow Republican, he is very upset at your administration. He said, if they’ve got a process, not revealing it to me. These are human beings.
PENCE: Well, I spoke to Senator Johnson today and we’re going to continue to work with members of congress in both parties.
was there a plan?
PENCE: Of course there is a plan. Look. We have a crisis at our southern border and when people come into the country illegally — as was the case under the Obama administration —at times when we prosecute people for entering our country illegally they’re separated from their children for a period of time. Those children are dispatched to relatives or to foster care . We know where they are and there’s a plan to reunite them. And do it in a way that’s very careful and very thoughtful. But again lets not forget, I was in Central America last week meeting with the presidents of El Salvador and Guatemala and Honduras and I said to them, this exodus must end.
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