Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Harris says talks in Guatemala were robust, tells migrants: ‘do not come’

Kamala Harris in Guatemala Kamala Harris, Speaking in Guatemala, Warns Against Making 'Dangerous Trek' to U.S. Border: 'Do Not Come. Do Not Come.'
Deanna Wagner | 08 June, 2021, 17:53

"The president and I discussed that fundamentally, most people do not want to leave home, they don't want to leave the place where the language they know is spoken".

She added, "The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border".

President Biden charged Harris with heading the White House's response to stemming Central American migration in late March, as the administration scrambled to address the latest influx of migrants, including record numbers of unaccompanied children, arriving without documentation at the U.S. -Mexico border.

US Vice President Kamala Harris said Monday the United States hopes to work with Guatemala to address the root causes of illegal migration by creating "a sense of hope" in the poverty- and violence-plagued country, on her first trip overseas since taking office. "If you come to our border, you will be turned back", she said. "We are creating this task force to address corruption, to address human smuggling, doing the work to make sure certain progress be made if we are going to attract investment", Harris said.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Vice President Kamala Harris' comments on immigration "disappointing" on Monday, after Harris said during a press conference that migrants looking to cross the USA border should not come.

Harris announced the formation of an anti-corruption task force, comprised of officials from the departments of Justice, Treasury and State, to address another thorny issue in the region.

Critically, people must be given "a sense of hope that help is on the way", said Harris.

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She rejected Republican criticism of the fact that neither she nor Biden had visited the United States southern border, saying she had come to Central America to discuss matters in a "way that is significant and has real results" rather than making "grand gestures". "What fight against corruption is she talking about?"

She was tapped for the role at the end of March as the number of migrants looking to cross the USA border surges.

In a twitter post, Ocasio-Cortez said coming to the US border seeking asylum is a legal method of arrival. "Do not come", she said.

The United States orchestrated a coup against democratically elected leftist government Jacobo Arbenz in 1954, ushering in decades of military governments and a civil war estimated to have killed more than 200,000 people by the time it ended in 1996.

However, Washington's push to tackle "root causes" of migration in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have been undermined by a backlash against anti-corruption bodies the United States considers independent but that local elites say are biased.

Asked Monday about Guatemala's anti-corruption stance, Giammattei said: "How many cases of corruption have I been accused of?" She said the United States has contributed to regime change and destabilization in Latin America for decades.