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Vice President Mike Pence visits the Texas-Mexico border

Vice President Mike Pence travels to the Texas-Mexico border on Friday in his first visit to the area as vice preside...

Posted: Feb 17, 2018 9:59 AM
Updated: Feb 17, 2018 9:59 AM

Vice President Mike Pence travels to the Texas-Mexico border on Friday in his first visit to the area as vice president.

A White House official said Pence will be joined by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Texas' Sen. Ted Cruz for an "operational tour" of the border. The group will participate in a roundtable discussion with US Customs and Border Protection about the infrastructure and technology behind a potential border wall. Another senior administration official added that there will also be a conversation about loopholes in the current immigration laws that permit MS-13 gang members to come to the US. This was also the topic of a White House roundtable earlier this week.

The vice president will travel to the border before President Donald Trump has been able to make such a trip, though Trump has said several times he plans to travel to see border wall prototypes.

This will be Nielsen's third visit to the border in her role, according to her spokesman. She visited McAllen, Texas, about a month ago.

Sister Norma Pimentel, director of the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, told CNN that she has been invited to meet with the vice president. Pimentel said she hopes to express her disappointment with lawmakers regarding the failure to reach a deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. She will also emphasize why she believes a border wall is not the answer to the issue of immigration and urge Pence to meet with members of the community for a better understanding of the potential impact a border wall -- a Trump administration priority -- would have on the region and its people.

The Rio Grande Valley has been seen as ground zero for the immigration debate, as it's among the busiest areas for Border Patrol agents. In fiscal year 2017, agents apprehended 137,562 undocumented people. The area is also home to the expected starting point of the proposed border wall at the controversial Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge.

The vice president will continue to Dallas later Friday evening and he will participate in a roundtable lunch on Saturday for the America First Action super PAC, with the money benefiting the Trump Victory fund. Tickets start at $2,700 per person for lunch and go up to $35,000 for a couple to meet in a small group with the vice president, according to a person familiar with the event.

John-Michael Torres, the communications director for local immigrant advocacy group LUPE (La Union Del Pueblo Entero), is organizing a news conference at a segment of border wall in Hidalgo, Texas, on Friday afternoon -- one of the cities Pence is scheduled to visit for an up-close look at the Rio Grande and a border crossing.

While Torres said he doesn't expect the group's message to be seen or heard by the vice president, he thinks it's important to express local concern over Trump's proposed border wall:

"Today's visit is symbolic of the anti-immigrant, pro-wall policies that President Trump has been pushing out. We do not want Vice President Pence to leave without him hearing from local communities who continue to reject the notion of a border wall."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 153270

Reported Deaths: 3807
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10249104
Hinds10095199
Harrison7173111
Jackson6440124
Rankin5705103
Lee517095
Madison4902107
Forrest385986
Jones361788
Lauderdale3567147
Lafayette329752
Washington3197108
Lamar294750
Oktibbeha248462
Bolivar242484
Lowndes240464
Panola224852
Neshoba2225118
Marshall219450
Leflore206891
Pontotoc202429
Monroe201078
Lincoln192865
Sunflower191955
Warren177757
Tate175351
Union169526
Copiah165440
Pike163958
Yazoo157940
Scott156630
Itawamba155635
Pearl River153468
Alcorn152828
Coahoma151043
Simpson150353
Prentiss148431
Adams143151
Grenada141445
Leake138344
Holmes131561
Tippah126730
George126225
Covington124639
Winston123726
Hancock122840
Wayne119023
Marion117346
Attala116134
Tishomingo110042
Chickasaw108332
Newton107529
Tallahatchie97427
Clarke92453
Clay92327
Jasper83522
Stone78515
Calhoun77713
Walthall76929
Montgomery75425
Carroll73815
Lawrence72614
Smith72116
Yalobusha72028
Noxubee71917
Perry67726
Tunica61819
Greene60822
Claiborne58816
Jefferson Davis57817
Amite55214
Humphreys54319
Benton49618
Quitman4947
Webster45014
Kemper44218
Wilkinson40122
Jefferson35711
Franklin3485
Choctaw3457
Sharkey31717
Issaquena1174
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 247229

Reported Deaths: 3577
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32718500
Mobile19904362
Madison13425148
Tuscaloosa13167154
Montgomery12380236
Shelby1046577
Baldwin882098
Lee778566
Morgan675150
Calhoun6366121
Etowah635166
Marshall630955
Houston532338
DeKalb489736
Cullman447442
Limestone430245
St. Clair425755
Lauderdale413354
Elmore409464
Walker3689111
Talladega353554
Jackson327123
Colbert314642
Blount294640
Autauga275142
Franklin254233
Coffee246515
Dale234454
Dallas226532
Chilton225038
Russell22313
Covington220334
Escambia198631
Chambers177250
Tallapoosa177091
Pike159214
Clarke158919
Marion141336
Winston134423
Lawrence129636
Pickens124218
Geneva12378
Marengo122524
Bibb118817
Barbour117511
Butler117342
Randolph103821
Cherokee102924
Hale97731
Fayette92216
Clay92024
Washington91619
Henry8676
Lowndes79929
Monroe79011
Cleburne77414
Macon74522
Crenshaw71230
Bullock70019
Perry6896
Conecuh68514
Lamar6838
Wilcox63918
Sumter58422
Greene42718
Choctaw42613
Coosa3464
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