Nicholas KammUS Vice President Mike Pence
described a caravan of migrants preparing to
claim asylum in America as "victims" of
activists, smugglers and the media
US Vice President Mike Pence blasted
"weak" and "ineffective" immigration laws
Monday during a trip to the border with
Mexico, as a caravan of immigrants two hours
to the west prepared to claim asylum in
Pence's remarks came as he toured a
construction site for a barrier in the
Californian border town of Calexico, 120
miles (200 kilometers) east of the San
Diego-Tijuana crossing where the group of at
least 150 people has amassed.
"I stand before you today when most of
the attention of the nation has been focused
on the so-called caravan," Pence said.
"As the president said on Saturday night,
this situation is a direct result of our
weak immigration laws and our porous
The visit came after the Central American
migrants arrived Sunday in the border town
of Tijuana, part of a caravan of more than
1,000 people who set out from southern
Mexico in late March.
Pence described them as "victims" of
activists, smugglers and the media and
called on Congress to close "dangerous
loopholes" allowing people to claim asylum
in the US rather than the first safe country
Media coverage of the US-bound caravan
has triggered a flurry of furious tweets
from Trump, who ordered thousands of
National Guard troops to the border and
called on Mexico to stop the migrants.
"We don't have borders, we don't have a
country. And I've been watching for weeks as
the caravan came up," Trump told reporters
at the White House on Monday.
AFP / GUILLERMO ARIASMore than 150 Central
American migrants arrived Sunday in the
border town of Tijuana, part of a caravan of
more than 1,000 who set out from southern
Mexico in late March
"And, you know, the Mexican laws are very
tough on immigration, extremely tough."
He reiterated his call for an end to the
"catch and release" protocol under which
people detained by US authorities as
unlawful immigrants can be released while
they wait for a hearing.
"You've got to have a wall. And we need
border security, and we will have border
security. As you know, we're sending many,
many National Guardsmen down to the border,"
"Most of them are already there. And
that's having a big impact. But we need a
change in the law. Catch and release is
Pence's visit comes four weeks after
Trump toured wall prototypes in Otay Mesa,
just north of the border.
Plans were launched in 2009 for the
Calexico structure -- which replaces around
two miles of decades-old barriers according
to the Los Angeles Times -- although Trump
sowed confusion last month when he tweeted
photos and wrote, "Great briefing this
afternoon on the start of our Southern
Officials have emphasized that the
Calexico barrier shouldn't be confused with
the yet-to-be-built wall that Trump made a
central plank of his 2016 presidential