Pence talks border in South America: 'If you can't come legally, don't come at all'

Pence talks border in South America: 'If you can't come legally, don't come at all'
© Greg Nash

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump, Pelosi, Schumer: No adult in the room Anti-wall is not a border policy: How Democrats can sell an immigration plan Protesters host dance party outside Stephen Miller's home MORE issued a warning to undocumented immigrants during a joint press conference with Brazilian President Michel Temer on Tuesday.

In joint remarks with Temer in Brazil, the vice president warned those planning to come to the U.S. illegally that drug smugglers and human traffickers stood to take advantage of them during their journeys.

"Let me be clear: The United States is the most welcoming home for immigrants in human history," Pence told pool reporters. "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.”

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"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," Pence continued. "If you can’t come legally, don’t come at all."

The vice president had faced criticism from Temer over the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy, which Temer says has led to the separation of several dozen Brazilian children at the U.S. border.

"This is extremely sensitive issue in the eyes of the Brazilian society," Temer said during the joint press conference.

Pence also pledged during his upcoming visit to Guatemala to impress upon the need for all countries in the region to fight drug smuggling and human trafficking, while pledging U.S. support for their efforts.

"The United States has invested significant resources to help Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador stop the flow of drugs and cripple the criminal syndicates that plague the region," Pence added.

"[But] the United States cannot do this alone. I will deliver this message personally to the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador when we meet in Guatemala City on Thursday," he said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE signed an executive order last week halting his administration's policy of separating migrant families at the border for prosecution after widespread criticism from both parties over images and audio from child detention facilities were made public.

The order came as a reversal of days of assurances from White House and Trump administration officials that only Congress could act to end the policy.