Vice President Mike Pence this week met with the leaders of three Central American nations amid the Trump administration’s ongoing “zero-tolerance” campaign against illegal immigration.
As Reuters reported, his trip included meetings with Jimmy Morales of Guatemala, Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras and Salvador Sanchez Ceren of El Salvador.
According to NBC News, Pence delivered a stern message on behalf of the White House to the presidents gathered for an address during the recent visit.
“Tell your people that coming to the United States illegally will only result in a hard journey and a harder life,” he said.
Pence made it clear that he was issuing the warning on behalf of the White House.
“President Donald Trump sent me here today because the United States faces another crisis on our southern border,” he said.
With an uptick in Central American border crossings over recent years, Pence placed a specific onus on the leaders he met with during this week’s trip abroad.
“And I am sad to report to the presidents gathered here that the vast majority of those entering our country illegally are from your countries,” he said.
While academics and activists focus on widespread violence in the region as the cause of an exodus and increase in those seeking refugee status, Pence focused on the economic incentive of immigration to the United States.
“Most are making the journey seeking economic opportunity, driven by the misguided belief that they can ignore the laws of the United States and enter our nation without consequences,” he said.
The vice president left the trio of world leaders with a clear and concise message.
“I say with great respect for the presidents gathered here: This exodus must end,” he said.
Pence also had a similar message for the citizens of the three nations who might want to emigrate to the U.S.
“I have a message for the people of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador,” he said. “If you want to come to the United States, come legally, or don’t come at all.”
Though Pence was in Central America delivering a message in person on Trump’s behalf, the president has not been shy in the past in expressing his opinion on the topic through tweets and other means.
As in one tweet earlier this year, Trump has used the issue to renew his calls for a wall to be built along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S. They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
“Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S.,” he wrote. “They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!”
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