MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Vice President Mike Pence made a South Florida visit Tuesday.

At the DoubleTree By Hilton hotel, Pence helped launch the Trump Campaign’s ‘Latinos For Trump’ coalition.

“I’m here for one reason and one reason only. Florida and our country need four more years of President Trump,” Pence told the cheering crowd.

“I promise you from the first day of this administration, President Trump has been fighting for the values that are really synonymous with Hispanic and Latino immigrants. Hard work, faith, family, freedom, educational choice, and the American way,” he added.

Pence then reminded supporters of the Trump’s conservative picks for the courts, his support for Venezuelans and Cubans and said that American Latinos are better off now than ever before.

“Under the leadership of President Donald trump in two and a half short years we have the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for Hispanic Americans,” he said.

Pence also addressed immigration and the wall on the southern border.

“We fought to support the courageous and compassionate work of the CBP (Customs & Border Protection) and after the president declared a national emergency in January of this year we’ve already started to build that wall on the southern border of the United States,” he said to cheers.

The vice president also touched on this week’s Democratic debates.

“After a season where President Trump has been cutting taxes, rolling back red tape, giving the American people more freedom, more prosperity, they are actually going to take to the stage and advocate more taxes, more regulation, something called Medicare For All, and the Green New Deal,” he said to boos and catcalls. “I think you all know what Medicare For All really means, it means quality healthcare for none. And the only thing green about the Green New Deal is how much green it’s going to cost all of us if they ever sign it into law.”

Pence said the American people know better.

“Tomorrow night, many of their leading candidates are going to openly advocate for an economic system that has impoverished millions around the world. Now Latino Americans know better than most about the cost of socialism. It’s impoverished generations and stolen the liberty of millions.

Ahead of his arrival, the Florida Democratic Party brought together representatives from the local Hispanic community who spoke about how they say the administration’s politics have hurt them.

“The reality is our Latino communities are suffering tremendously here,” said Melissa Tavares.

Tavares, an immigration rights advocate, called the president’s Hispanic outreach confusing citing the threat of immigration raids that were postponed last weekend. She said voters won’t forget.

“The undocumented immigrant community can not vote but their sisters, their teachers, their neighbors and their 33 million American born children can and we will remember who stood on the right side of history,” she said.

On Monday, half a dozen Latino activists held a news conference and called Trump’s efforts to woo the Latin vote repugnant, saying that his policies undermine the Hispanic community and that it is laughable that he launched his Latino coalition in Florida. They also slammed him for his immigration policy which separated children from their families.

While in South Florida, the vice president also visited the National Hurricane Center where he applauded their work and contribution in saving American lives during hurricane season. Pence said “vigilance is the watch word” during hurricane season.

“Vigilance is the watch word. To be a weather-ready nation, Americans have to be ready for hurricane season,” he said. “I’m told that the forecast error for the work that you did here for where hurricanes will make landfalls was about 700 nautical miles. We’ve reduced that to less than 100 miles. That is incredible progress in a single generation, and the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service should be commended for your outstanding work.”

When asked about Iran, Pence said that the US stands with the Iranian people and we do not want to go to war.

Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez will co-chair the national group of Latino supporters of President Trump.

“As Latinos, we have all heard the promises of Democrats over the generations and we are tired of just lip service,” Nuñez said in a statement issued by the Trump campaign.

“President Trump has done more than just talk — he has put in place policies that have directly benefited millions of Latinos and we want to see him re-elected.” The announcement came a day before the first of two Democratic presidential debates that will be held in Miami.

(©2019 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida’s contributed to this report.)

Ted Scouten

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