Vice President Mike Pence during a diplomatic trip to South America this week issued a stern warning to people seeking to immigrate to the United States illegally: “If you can’t come legally, don’t come at all.”
During a press conference with Brazilian President Michel Temer in Brazil on Tuesday, Pence said that the U.S. “is the most welcoming home for immigrants in human history,” but that it is also “a nation of laws.”
He added that people should be careful not to risk their lives or their children’s lives “by trying to come to the United States on the road run by drug smugglers and human traffickers.”
"Let me be clear: The United States is the most welcoming home for immigrants in human history," Pence said. "We are proud of this legacy. But we are also proud to be a nation of laws and a nation with recognized and respected international borders.”
"Don’t risk your lives or the lives of your children by trying to come to the United States on the road run by drug smugglers and human traffickers," he continued. "If you can’t come legally, don’t come at all."
His remarks come amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border. President Trump issued an executive order last week ending the policy that separated illegal alien children from their parents or guardians while the adults were processed.
That was not enough to quell the firestorm of criticism, however, as outrage remains over how illegal alien children will now be detained with their parents or guardians in detention centers as opposed to being held in shelters.
Vice President Pence will also be visiting Guatemala and Ecuador this week. In Guatemala City, he will be meeting with the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Pence told reporters that he plans to discuss efforts to fight drug smuggling and human trafficking, and to reiterate America's support for such efforts.
Check out footage from Pence and Temer's joint press conference below.