Mike Pence Doubles Down on Border Wall: 'Donald Trump Will Not Be Deterred by Democrats' Obstruction'

Vice President Mike Pence warned that President Donald Trump "will not be deterred" by what Pence called "Democrats' obstruction" of the U.S. leader's bid to get his long-promised border wall built.

Pence doubled down on the Trump administration's stance in the ongoing partial government shutdown in an op-ed for USA Today, in which he blamed Democrats for the shutdown over their refusal to "compromise on the wall."

Read more: Trump quotes Republican firebrand he once called a 'Hitler lover' to justify his border wall

"The American people deserve better. Only the willfully blind—or politically blind—could fail to see the scope and scale of this crisis," Pence wrote, of what he called a "national security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border."

Despite there having been a significant decrease in the number of migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in the past 18 years, Pence defended his use of the term "humanitarian crisis" by pointing out that last month the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency "apprehended nearly 40 percent more unaccompanied children and groups claiming to be families than in May 2014, which President Barack Obama described as a 'humanitarian crisis' at the time."

"Then, as now, the flood of illegal traffic brings with it a deluge of drugs, criminals and violence," Pence wrote.

"These criminals and these drugs shatter American homes and steal American lives," he said, adding: "Our hearts grieve for the families of the 300 Americans who die every single week from overdoses involving heroin, nearly 90 percent of which enters the country from across our southern border."

The vice president said that he and the Trump administration were also concerned about the 70 percent of undocumented immigrants that "report being victims of violence along the journey [to the U.S.] at the hands of human traffickers, drug smugglers and vicious gangs," citing data from Doctors Without Borders. "About a third of women are sexually assaulted on their way to America," Pence wrote.

Urging Democrats to return to the negotiating table to bring the partial government shutdown to an end, Pence reiterated the proposal for "a compromise" that he said "contains both Republican and Democratic priorities, including the president's request for $5.7 billion to fund a steel barrier on the southern border and more than $7 billion to address a wide variety of security and humanitarian needs, many of which have been long supported by both parties in Congress."

"But the American people deserve to know: Democrats refuse to negotiate on building the wall," Pence said.

"Even as we face a crisis on our southern border, and as 800,000 federal workers go without paychecks, Democrats in Congress have been unwilling to seriously discuss even partial wall funding," he continued. "President Trump and our administration will not be deterred by the Democrats' obstruction. The American people want to see action, and we intend to deliver."

While Pence, Trump and the White House have laid blame for the partial government shutdown, which entered its 26th day on Wednesday, squarely on the shoulders of Democrats, recent polls have suggested that the majority of Americans hold Trump and Republican lawmakers responsible for the federal closures.

Both the House and the Senate have passed spending bills that would reopen the government, but Trump has made clear that he would not sign any bill that did not include the $5.7 billion he has demanded in border wall funding.

The U.S. leader has also shot down a suggestion from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham to reopen the government for three weeks so that services could get back up and running while negotiations around the border wall continue.

With both sides firmly dug in, Trump has warned that the current shutdown could go on for "years" if Democrats do not agree to his demands for border wall funding.

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Vice President Mike Pence speaks as President Donald Trump stands by in the Rose Garden of the White House on January 4. Pence has doubled down on the Trump administration's demand for border wall funding in a recent op-ed. Alex Wong/Getty
Mike Pence Doubles Down on Border Wall: 'Donald Trump Will Not Be Deterred by Democrats' Obstruction' | U.S.