Washington: US Vice President Mike Pence has said that President Donald Trump's administration would not return to separating families at the southern border with Mexico as a way of deterring illegal immigration.
In an exclusive CNN interview on Thursday, Pence said: "The President made it very clear this week, we're not rethinking bringing back family separation."
"We ended family separation, and we're not considering going back to it."
Pence's remark comes after senior administration officials told CNN that in the last four months or so, Trump had been pushing then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to enforce a stricter and more widespread "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.
According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers, as well as separated even if they were apprehended within the US.
But on Tuesday, Trump repeatedly denied the claims.
Pence stressed that the onus was on Congress to act and provide a legislative solution to what he said was an inadequate immigration system.
"We've got to close the loopholes in our law. We've got to end 'catch and release.' We've got to reform our asylum system," Pence told CNN on Thursday.
"And that's why Congress needs to sit down, Democrats in Congress need to sit down and take a break from everything else they're focused on and deal with what the American people want them to deal with, which is securing our border and protecting our country."
Meanwhile, more undocumented immigrants and migrants were apprehended along the southern border in March than in any month since 2007, according to Customs and Border Protection data released Tuesday.
There were approximately 92,000 arrests of undocumented migrants for illegal entry along the southern border in March, up from 37,390 the previous year.
Overall in March, more than 103,000 individuals were apprehended along the border or encountered at a port of entry and deemed "inadmissible".