Donald Trump

Vice President Mike Pence Speaks at Conference at FIU in Miami

Pence discusses security challenges, improving economy in Central America

Vice President Mike Pence made a stop in South Florida on Thursday to speak at a conference to discuss issues in Central America.

Pence, who was joined by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, was speaking at the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America – an event taking place on the campus of Florida International University.

In partnership with Mexico, the conference brought together leaders from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. There are a variety of issues at stake, mostly concerning the economy and security.

"This president knows that your security and your prosperity are directly connected to ours," Pence said.

The Trump administration has been focusing on drug trafficking, gang violence and illegal migration in the northern triangle region of Central America.

"We stand with you in your commitment to stop the scourge of drug trafficking once and for all. And the United States of America stands with you as you build a more secure and prosperous future for the benefit of your people and the benefit of the Western Hemisphere," Pence said.

"A more prosperous and safer Central America will do much to halt the illegal and dangerous migration, defeat transnational drug cartels and gangs and end corruption in their economies," Tillerson said.

Pence also said he will be traveling to Central America later this year.

Security was tight for the conference, which came a day after the shooting in Alexandria, VA, where Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip from Louisiana, was shot along with three other people – including two members of Capitol Police.

Meanwhile, a group of protesters gathered for a demonstration as Pence arrived on the FIU campus. Many were mostly upset over what they say is the administration's aggressive stance on deporting undocumented immigrants.

"We're here to make a strong statement for immigrant rights because the Trump administration has policed and militarized the immigrant population," protester and FIU professor Ronald Cox said.

The visit from Pence came one day before President Donald Trump will arrive in Miami, where he is expected to make a major announcement regarding the U.S. and Cuba. Many expect Trump to roll back policies and actions from former President Barack Obama done in an effort to help thaw relations between the two nations.

The visits from both Trump and Pence are expected to have a major impact for those traveling in Miami-Dade County, as major roadways will be closed and transit service on both Metrorail and the Metromover could be stopped for as long as 30 minutes at a time.

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