Vice President Mike Pence defended President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theory that “Middle Easterners” are part of a caravan from Honduras that is making its way through Mexico to the U.S.
Pence made his comments to journalist Robert Costa at a Washington Post event in D.C.:
It’s inconceivable that there are not people of Middle Eastern descent in a crowd of more than 7,000 people advancing towards our border.
Costa asked: “Inconceivable?” and Pence pushed his evidence-free claim even further than Trump:
There are statistics on this. In the last fiscal year we apprehended 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day at our southern border, from countries that are referred to in the lexicon as “other than Mexico.” That means from the Middle East region.
I mean, the idea that they would not be in this large throng, that what the president of Honduras told me was organized by leftist groups in Honduras, financed by Venezuela and sent north to challenge our sovereignty and challenge our border.
NBC News has debunked both Trump and Pence on the caravan:
The Department of Homeland Security is able to gather biometric data as migrants pass between the borders of Central American countries. A former senior intelligence official who continues to be briefed on current intelligence told NBC News that there is no evidence that any Middle Eastern terrorists are hiding in the caravan.
Middle Eastern and African immigrants have routinely crossed illegally across the U.S.-Mexico border for years, but their numbers pale in comparison to the number of Central Americans.
Last fiscal year, they accounted for less than one out of every 100 — 0.7 percent — of border apprehensions, according to DHS. Instances of known or suspected terrorists crossing the southern border are incredibly rare, the official said. In addition, internal U.S. government documents on the caravan make no mention of Middle Easterners, criminals or a terror threat.
(Source: The Washington Post, NBC News)
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