Vice President Pence visits New Mexico to promote USMCA trade de - FOX34 Lubbock

Vice President Pence visits New Mexico to promote USMCA trade deal

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Vice President Mike Pence made a stop in Artesia, New Mexico, Wednesday afternoon to talk about the new United States-Canada-Mexico-Agreement (USMCA). 

His message about the USMCA trade deal: Putting the American worker first. 

"Nearly half of New Mexico's exports go to either Canada or Mexico and support nearly 15,000 jobs," Vice President Pence said.

A report by the U.S. International Trade Commission found that this new deal will generate tens of billions of dollars, as well as about 175,000 new jobs domestically.

Vice President Pence said the USMCA will be especially huge for rural communities like Artesia. 

"It's going to allow American companies to continue building the infrastructure that you need to carry American energy into Mexico. It will preserve the investor, state dispute settlement that protects American energy companies' rights. The USMCA will also keep Mexico's energy resources open to development by American companies, and it will guarantee no tariffs on American oil," Vice President Pence said.

Despite a chaotic summer in Congress, Vice President Pence said this is a bipartisan deal both sides of the aisle can understand, asking Artesia citizens to get involved to help pass the agreement. 

"Reach out to those who represent you and tell them we need the USMCA to keep New Mexico's economy growing and to keep energy prospering and expanding here in the Permian Basin," Vice President Pence said.

Focus on Mental Health

Following the rally, the Vice President emphasized the administration's focus on mental health in the wake of the recent mass shootings. He said the President is dedicated to the Second Amendment and is prepared to work on so-called "red flag laws". These laws would allow a court to temporarily seize guns, if someone is deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

"Making sure that people who are mentally deranged or have a propensity or a history of violence can't have access to firearms is an idea that we want to see advanced," Pence said. "We're exploring legislation that will, frankly, give law enforcement and families more tools to see to it that individuals who have a propensity for violence or have a history of mental illness can't have access to firearms."

After the attacks in El Paso and Dayton, President Trump seemed open to the idea. But in the last couple of days, reportedly after a talk with the head of the NRA, he has backed away from it.

The President echoed the lobby's long-standing concern that red flag laws are a slippery slope.

Racism not cause of El Paso shooting

Pence said racism was not at the root of the cause of the El Paso attack.

The suspected shooter faces possible federal hate crime charges. Investigators say he specifically targeted Mexican people, citing an online rant where he spoke of what he called "a Hispanic invasion of Texas".

Vice President Pence says that is mental illness, not a not to systemic discrimination.

"It comes out of a deranged mind, and we ought not to draw broad conclusions about our country or about the public debate in this country over what deranged individuals do," Pence said.

Governor Abbott has created two new panels after the El Paso attack, both mandated to fight extremism and hateful ideologies like white supremacy.

Change to policy on children

Homeland Security has ended a long-standing court agreement that limits how long children can be kept in detention. "The Flores Agreement" forced the government to release children after 20 days. 

The Vice President says ending the agreement is a way to keep families together and calls it a step toward ending the crisis on the border.

"We believe this takes a real tool away from human traffickers, who talk about the 'catch-and-release' practice of the United States," Pence said. "They tell vulnerable families in Central America, 'if you will simply bring children with you, that the United States and Customs and Border Protection can only detain you for 20 days,' and up until today that was the rule. But we've changed that."

He says this rule change will bring the highest standards of humanitarian care to the system and ensure due process for families. 

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