Phoenix, Arizona - Remarks by Vice President Pence After Receiving a Briefing and Tour of a DEA Facility, Phoenix:
DEA Phoenix Facility - Phoenix, Arizona
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, Governor Ducey, thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your presence here today. And to Special Agent Coleman, and to all the courageous men and women who are part of the Phoenix Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, it’s an honor to be here — an honor to be here on behalf of President Trump and on behalf on a grateful nation to say thank you. And thank you for the work that you do here on the frontlines of our efforts to prevent the flow of illegal drugs across our southern border.
We’re standing in a vault, and all the drugs that have piled here did not make their way to our children, our families, and our communities. The lives that you saved don’t make it in the newspaper. But I want to assure you that the American people know that the men and women of the DEA save lives every day. And here at the Phoenix Field Office, you’re doing work that is important to the life of this state and to the life of this nation.
And I came here to learn more about it. But I came here also just to say thank you. Thank you for your dedication.
As President Trump has said, there’s nobody that deserves respect more than the men and women of law enforcement. And all of you gathered here today represent literally tens of thousands who serve in law enforcement across this country and then some 9,000 men and women who serve in the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Here at home, and in 69 other nations around the world, the DEA is out protecting the American people and interdicting the nefarious drug trade from impacting our families and our communities. As I said, every American is grateful.
And we’re especially grateful in the midst of a crisis on our southern border. The efforts that you are putting in here, dealing with an unprecedented challenge on our southern border, for the first time ever, the majority of people crossing our border illegally are families and unaccompanied children.
In fact, the statistics just released today from the Department of Homeland Security demonstrate that Customs and Border Protection has seen more than a 300 percent increase since last year in the number of families units apprehended. A 300 percent increase.
It’s being driven — as men and women of the DEA know, it’s being driven by the drug cartels and by human traffickers who exploit vulnerable families in Central America, entice them to make the long and dangerous journey north. They exploit them and they exploit their presence to bring even more illegal drugs into our country. It’s what Special Agent Coleman described to me today. The challenge that we face between our ports of entry in the midst of this crisis on southern border is what our DEA agents face every single day.
The truth is, the crisis on our southern border today is overwhelming our system, and transnational criminal organizations in Mexico and Central America recognize it as an opportunity to peddle more of their poison into our country.
Here in this sector, you are on the frontlines. You play a critical role in stopping their efforts. Last year alone — I commend you for the fact that you seized 27,000 pounds of methamphetamine in the Phoenix Field Division, 4,700 pounds of cocaine, 2,700 pounds of heroin, and enough fentanyl to kill one-third of the entire population of the United States — was seized by the Phoenix Field Division. You save lives every day in the work that you do here for the America people.
And just yesterday, Special Agent Coleman — I’m informed that the field division announced the results of your most recent bust, working with state and local law enforcement here in Arizona — you seized $28,000 in cash; more than dozen weapons, including stolen firearms, high-capacity magazines; and arrested six suspects, including an admitted MS-13 gang member. And I think that deserves a round of applause. (Applause.)
It’s incredible work, and the people of Arizona and America are grateful — grateful to you and to your entire team.
But the truth is, for all the progress that you make, for the difference that you make here every day, in the midst of the crisis that we face on our southern border, the reality is that your job is harder than ever before.
And that’s why I want to assure you that President Trump and our entire administration are continue — are going to continue to stand strong until we provide you with the resources and the support to secure our border and protect our families from the flow of illegal drugs.
The nation saw the President’s commitment when we recently secured $23 billion from the Congress for border security, in addition to funding for a physical barrier and a wall. But given the crisis at our border, the President, using his authority under the law, declared a national emergency and is in the process of identifying additional federal resources that can be reprogrammed and reassigned to border security and for the construction of a wall on the southern border.
Speaking with Special Agent Coleman today, he pointed out to me that while there is a great deal of discussion about the number of drugs that are interdicted at our points of entry — and I’m paraphrasing your statement — but he said, ‘Anybody that tells you that drugs are not coming over our border between our ports of entry doesn’t know what he’s talking about.’
The reality is that, because of the good work of the DEA, because we’re driving much of the drug trade to our points of entry, the efforts that are being made there still — because of our porous border, because of the crisis on our southern border of large groups of families and unaccompanied children — that drugs are still coming across our border between those points of entry, in large numbers, to harm our families.
And let me be clear: We’re going to continue to fight to make sure that we secure our border, that we build that wall, that we give our Customs and Border Protection, and all of you here at the DEA, the resources and support you need to do your job and to protect our nation.
The truth is, after the President declared a national emergency, some in Congress are trying to stop the President from exercising his legal authority to confront what is a real crisis at the southern border. We’re grateful for the support that we received in the House of the Representatives, but the majority still passed a bill disapproving of the President’s declaration. And now it goes to the United States Senate.
Any vote against the President’s national emergency declaration is a vote against border security. And we call on every member of the Senate, and your senators from here in Arizona, to stand for border security, stand with President Trump, and uphold the President’s call for a national emergency and additional resources to secure our border.
In the days ahead, I promise each and every one of you that you’ll continue to see this President standing firm, and our entire administration, to make the resources and the tools you need to do your job available, and to provide the resources to secure our border.
But let me end where I began, and that is simply to say “thank you.” It is humbling to be among heroes. And the men and women of this Phoenix field office are heroes. You save lives every day. And the truth of the matter is, you do so by confronting some of the most evil people in our hemisphere, people who literally profit from drug abuse addiction and human suffering; who apply their trade with violence.
And so as I express the gratitude of the American people for what each and every one of your do, and let me also assure you of the prayers of the people of this country for your service. And we will prayer, as the Good Book says, that “no harm would overtake you, no disaster would come near,” that He would guard you in all your ways as you guard and protect this great nation.
So with your continued courage; with this President’s strong leadership for border security and our partners in law enforcement at the local level and the state level; and with the support of the American people; and with God’s help, I know we will end this crisis at our southern border, we will secure our border for this generation and the next, and we will confront the flow of illegal drugs and save more lives in that, so help us God.
Thank you very much. (Applause.) And God bless you for the work that you do...