Pence praises DEA's work, says border wall necessary to prevent drug trafficking

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

Pence: Trump offer "an effort to compromise"

Vice President Mike Pence visited the Drug Enforcement Administration's headquarters Thursday morning, telling DEA employees "you fight for us every day" in a speech. The vice president used the occasion to campaign for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, calling it necessary to prevent drug trafficking.

"There are tragedies that never happened because of the work of the DEA and the drugs that you stopped and the criminal organizations that you disrupted," Pence said.

Pence began his speech by bringing greetings from President Trump, whom he called a "great champion of law enforcement."

"As the president said not long ago, there is nobody that deserves respect more than law enforcement," Pence said, adding that DEA officers "have a president, have an administration" that supports them totally. "You fight for us every day, we are going to fight for you."

Pence's visit to the DEA comes as the administration is trying to secure funding for a wall on the southern border. Mr. Trump has claimed that building a wall would result in fewer drugs being smuggled over the border, although the majority of illegal narcotics that enter the U.S. are smuggled through legal ports of entry. However, Pence said that 60 percent of marijuana coming over the southern border did not pass through entry points.

Pence said there was a "crisis" at the border. "Every day the southern border remains unsecure, it gives these criminals more opportunity to peddle their poison," he said, adding that the president would definitely "secure our border."

Last week, Mr. Trump agreed to reopen the government for three weeks without any money for the wall after a 35-day partial shutdown. A congressional committee is negotiating homeland security funding, which may include money for the border. The administration has indicated that Mr. Trump is willing to allow another shutdown if no deal is made to build the wall.

Mr. Trump announced on Twitter Thursday morning that more troops were being sent to the border, days after acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced plans for a greater troop presence there.

"More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans, into our Country. We have stopped the previous Caravans, and we will stop these also. With a Wall it would be soooo much easier and less expensive. Being Built!" Mr. Trump wrote.

Pence also discussed the actions of the DEA in Venezuela. The Trump administration recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guiadó as president instead of embattled leader Nicolás Maduro last week.

Pence was introduced by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a frequent target of Mr. Trump for his appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in 2017. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker was in Colombia.

"He has been a strong, steady and consistent supporter of law enforcement throughout the years," Rosenstein said of Pence in his introduction. Pence thanked Rosenstein for his service in response.

Pence was expected to participate in the swearing-in ceremony for the administration's new drug czar, James Carroll, Thursday afternoon.

First published on January 31, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

Pence tells DEA border wall necessary to prevent trafficking

Mike Pence tells DEA employees "you fight for us every day" in speech at agency's headquarters

updated 13M ago

Police show more video in shooting of boy with airsoft gun

14-year-old Antonio Arce was fatally shot as he ran away from a Tempe police officer responding to a vehicle burglary

updated 19M ago

Climate change skeptics live where it hurts economy most: study

Americans who least believe in climate change live where its effects are forecast to hurt most, Brookings Institution says

updated 19M ago

Nurse indicted on charges of raping incapacitated woman

Nathan Sutherland is expected to enter a plea to the charges at an arraignment hearing next week

updated 11M ago

Kentucky governor says U.S. is getting "soft" on weather

"There's no ice going with it or any snow," said Bevin. "What happens to America?"

updated 46M ago

Pence tells DEA border wall necessary to prevent trafficking

Mike Pence tells DEA employees "you fight for us every day" in speech at agency's headquarters

updated 13M ago

Climate change skeptics live where it hurts economy most: study

Americans who least believe in climate change live where its effects are forecast to hurt most, Brookings Institution says

updated 19M ago

Kentucky governor says U.S. is getting "soft" on weather

"There's no ice going with it or any snow," said Bevin. "What happens to America?"

updated 46M ago

No wall funding in House Dems' opening border funding offer

The plan includes no funding for physical barriers like President Trump's requested border wall

updated 22M ago

Trump says location is picked for next North Korea summit—live updates

The president also reiterated his disagreement with his intelligence leaders

1H ago

29 children and babies die from cold as families seek shelter: Report

"Children are dying from hypothermia as their families flee to safety," said Elizabeth Hoff, WHO representative in Syria.

1H ago

"Disturbing" discovery: Giant hole found under Antarctica glacier

It is growing at an "explosive" rate that surprised researchers, NASA says

updated 36M ago

Trump’s stance on Venezuela garners rare bipartisan support in Congress

"There are always going to be issues on which we agree," Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala told CBS News

2H ago

Europeans poised to roll out "vehicle" to dodge Iran sanctions

EU says it's "moving in the same direction" as U.S. on Iran's regional influence and military development, but it wants to keep the nuclear deal alive

4H ago

Venezuela power struggle hinges on Maduro's military

So far embattled president's commanders are standing by him, but pressure is mounting fast

updated 58M ago

Mindfulness helped Kathy Bates lose 60 pounds

The 70-year-old actress said she learned about mindfulness from her niece – and has never felt better

1H ago

"Mobituaries": Who was the first African American major leaguer? Not Jackie Robinson

They made history. So, why don't we know their names?

3H ago

CBS All Access' "Twilight Zone" reboot gets premiere date

"Twilight Zone" fans can soon enter the fifth dimension all over again

19H ago

Persons of interest sought in alleged Jussie Smollett attack

Smollett told police he was attacked by two white men early Tuesday who allegedly yelled "this is MAGA country"

16H ago

The Beatles' historic final concert held on rooftop 50 years ago

By the time they performed, it had been more than two years since their last live show

19H ago

Climate change skeptics live where it hurts economy most: study

Americans who least believe in climate change live where its effects are forecast to hurt most, Brookings Institution says

updated 19M ago

These states could move to 100% renewable power

They represent 42% of the U.S. population and a quarter of its economic output — and shift can happen within 25 years

1H ago

Dad: Hacker spoke to baby, taunted me, turned up thermostat

Hacker accessed Illinois family's Nest security cameras, father says

1H ago

"Disturbing" discovery: Giant hole found under Antarctica glacier

It is growing at an "explosive" rate that surprised researchers, NASA says

updated 36M ago

Saturn spent billions of years without its rings, NASA says

Saturn's rings may have formed during the age of dinosaurs – but compared to the planet, that's not that old

4H ago

Mindfulness helped Kathy Bates lose 60 pounds

The 70-year-old actress said she learned about mindfulness from her niece – and has never felt better

1H ago

Woman with dementia dumped outside nursing home, family says

Security footage shows the elderly woman attempting to get inside in the middle of the night after being discharged from the hospital

updated 36M ago

Drugmaker doubles recall of infant ibuprofen

Some batches found with overly high concentrations of the drug, with infants especially vulnerable to adverse effects

6H ago

Woman uses DNA test, finds sperm donor – and pays a "devastating" price

A sperm bank is threatening to sue an Oregon woman who contacted her daughter's biological father after using an at-home DNA test

6H ago

Company accused of fueling opioid crisis wanted to capitalize on treatment: report

ProPublica specifically names Kathe Sackler as being involved with a secretive project called "Project Tango"

7H ago

Climate change skeptics live where it hurts economy most: study

Americans who least believe in climate change live where its effects are forecast to hurt most, Brookings Institution says

updated 19M ago

These states could move to 100% renewable power

They represent 42% of the U.S. population and a quarter of its economic output — and shift can happen within 25 years

1H ago

Dad: Hacker spoke to baby, taunted me, turned up thermostat

Hacker accessed Illinois family's Nest security cameras, father says

1H ago

Ben & Jerry's eliminating single-use plastic

Ice cream vendor is doing away with plastic straws and spoons — cups and lids are next

2H ago

How to get your tax refund as quickly as possible

The IRS started accepting tax returns this week — here are some tips for collecting your dough

3H ago

Police show more video in shooting of boy with airsoft gun

14-year-old Antonio Arce was fatally shot as he ran away from a Tempe police officer responding to a vehicle burglary

updated 19M ago

Nurse indicted on charges of raping incapacitated woman

Nathan Sutherland is expected to enter a plea to the charges at an arraignment hearing next week

updated 11M ago

Phony pharmacist gave out 745,000 prescriptions, authorities say

She posed as a pharmacist and pharmacy manager for years in three California Walgreens stores, a state investigation finds

5H ago

Cleveland family says school should've flagged slain girl's absence sooner

Alianna DeFreeze, 14, was abducted on her way to school; her family is suing because they weren't notified about her absence quick enough

17H ago

"I hope y'all find peace," Texas inmate says before execution

Robert Jennings received lethal injection for killing Officer Elston Howard during a robbery part of a crime spree in July 1988

5H ago  Original Article