Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to a crowd in Kansas City was interrupted on Wednesday when a protester approached the stage, shouting “where are the children?”
The event, which was originally meant to commemorate the 2017 tax cuts (which even Marco Rubio admitted had no benefit to average workers), was overshadowed by the immigration debate after protests erupted during the speech speaking out against the Trump administration’s former policy of separating undocumented children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Mike! Where are the children?” One protester shouted at Pence, before being escorted out by security. “Shame on you!”
"Mike, where are the children? Shame on you!" a man yelled at the beginning of Vice Pres. Mike Pence's remarks today. The crowd chanted "USA! USA!" as he was removed. https://t.co/IhMcXiuQQP pic.twitter.com/xoXsK8L1Ha
— ABC News (@ABC) July 11, 2018
According to the Kansas City Star, another protester interrupted the Mike Pence after the first heckler was escorted out to the sound of the crowd chanting “USA! USA!” The other protester was carried out before Pence continued his speech.
The heckler’s question to Pence asking about the immigrant children separated from their parents is fair, given that the Trump administration recently missed a court-imposed deadline to reunite families. Out of 102 children under the age of five separated from their families, only 54 had actually been reunited with their parents as of Tuesday evening. However, approximately 3,000 undocumented minors still remain separated from their families, according to NBC News.
A recent Texas Observer article reported on nine immigrant parents who were deported back to their countries of origin without their children, who were all under the age of five.
However, even despite the deadline, dozens of children will remain in U.S. custody, indefinitely separated from their parents due to outstanding legal issues. BBC reported that 10 parents are still pending legal proceedings and have yet to have their cases evaluated, with another eight parents having a “serious criminal history” involving drug offenses, murder, and human trafficking, with two other parents potentially posing a risk of child abuse, according to federal officials. Five children separated at the border were with adults who were not their parents.
Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian said that of the 54 children reunited with their parents, they will be released, likely with ankle monitors, rather than kept in family detention.
Jake Shepherd is a freelance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. He enjoys poring through financial disclosure statements, spirited debate, and good scotch. He remains eternally optimistic about the Browns. Email him at jake.d.shepherd.21 (at) hotmail (dot) com.