The Latest: Pence demands more from Central American nations
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — The Latest on U.S President Mike Pence’s visit to Latin America (all times local):
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called on Central American governments to do more to contain illegal immigration because the “need for stronger actions is more urgent than ever.”
Speaking in Guatemala City to the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Pence said that “this exodus has to end.”
“It is a threat to the security of the United States and just as we respect your borders and your sovereignty, we insist that respect ours,” Pence said.
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez were present for late Thursday’s meeting.
The three Central American countries are the home nations of many migrants detained and separated in recent weeks amid Trump administration policies that led to the separations of more than 2,000 children and the White House’s decision to reverse them.
Guatemalan presidential spokesman Alfredo Brito said that the topic of the meeting would be the situation of immigrants due to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for those who cross the U.S. border illegally.
The U.S. vice president made Thursday’s remarks on the final day of a trip that took him to Brazil and Ecuador before Guatemala.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in Guatemala where he and three Central American presidents are expected to discuss immigration.
Thursday’s meeting is with Guatemala’s Jimmy Morales, El Salvador’s Salvador Sanchez Ceren and Honduras’ Juan Orlando Hernandez.
The three countries from the so-called Northern Triangle region of Central America are the home nations of many migrants detained and separated in recent weeks amid Trump administration policies that led to the separations of more than 2,000 children and the White House’s decision to reverse them.
Guatemalan presidential spokesman Alfredo Brito says the topic at hand will be the situation of immigrants due to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy for those who cross the U.S. border illegally.
Brito also said Morales would reiterate Guatemala’s request for Temporary Protected Status for Guatemalans.
Air Force Two landed Thursday afternoon in the capital of Guatemala, the last stop on Latin American tour that also included visits to Brazil and Ecuador.
Second lady Karen Pence boarded a helicopter and was headed to meet with families affected by a deadly volcanic eruption in early June.
Visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence praised Ecuador’s leader for warming relations and urged him to hold a firm line against neighboring Venezuela, which has been crumbling under a crisis.
Winning back trade privileges rejected by Ecuador’s former president, Rafael Correa, were a central part of the talks for current President Lenin Moreno.
“The Ecuadorean people have shown remarkable compassion,” Pence said, noting that 350,000 Venezuelans have fled to Ecuador, a country of a little more than 16 million people. “We must all take strong action to restore democracy in Venezuela.”
In his Latin American trip, Pence announced $10 million in aid to assist in the absorption of Venezuelan refugees, dedicating $2 million of that to efforts in Ecuador. The U.S. since 2017 has provided its regional partners nearly $31 million.
Pence said that relations have improved under Moreno’s leadership and noted their shared fight against international drug traffickers. He credited the new president with reversing a decade of failed policy and rooting out corruption.
Pence arrived in Quito on Wednesday evening from Manaus, Brazil, where he visited a shelter that houses Venezuelans who have fled their homeland’s economic and political turmoil.