Vice President Kamala Harris, as part of her visit to Guatemala, told potential migrants that they should not travel to the U.S. Mexico border. Harris claimed that potential migrants would be turned back if they did. “I want to emphasize that the goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home, at the same time I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making the dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border — do not come, do not come,” she said. Why did the Vice President go to Guatemala? Was Kamala Harris’s visit actually conducive to fixing the current crisis at the border?
Why is Kamala Harris Currently at the Border?
Harris was appointed by Biden to lead the diplomatic outreach, to deal with the crisis at the border. The majority of immigrants are coming from Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The Vice President received extreme criticism for not having visited the border or even held a press conference for the matter. When asked in an interview why she had not yet gone to the border during her term, Kamala Harris responded with “and, I haven’t been to Europe.” Vice President Kamala Harris’s office has said she is not involved with the border directly, Harris deals with the “root cause” of the border crisis. They attribute the border crises to many things such as climate change and economic instability. “We are looking at extensive storm damage because of extreme climate, we’re looking at drought in an area in a region where agriculture is one of the most traditionally important basis for their economy, we’re looking at what’s happening in terms of food scarcity as a result of that and in fact, incredible food insecurity, which we used to call hunger food insecurity,” she said in April. One of the biggest criticisms Harris has been receiving is that it took too long for her to travel to the site of the crisis. Is going to the border even the best way to fix the issues our country is facing? The Biden administration seems to be ignoring the damage they are doing in their own country.
What does the Biden Administration Intend to do?
President Biden and Vice President Harris have done away with many Trump Administration policies, the most significant being the Migrant Protection Protocols, which kept potential migrants in Mexico as they awaited their hearings. Biden and Harris ended the program and allowed the processing of migrants into the U.S.. The Biden administration announced the Justice Department would create task forces to combat corruption, human trafficking and drug smuggling in the North American region. Vice President Harris also promised new programs focused on creating education and economic opportunities. Stopping corruption and improving living conditions in the region have been challenges that previous administrations were unable to handle. Vice President Harris has continued to attribute the “root cause” explanation for the crisis at the border, but Harris herself has said that she does not believe the root causes approach will lead to immediate results. What should the U.S. do in the meantime? Officials have said that the U.S. alone cannot solve this crisis, and it needs collaboration with governments and other organizations, such as the United Nations. The U.S. recently announced $310 million in aid to the region, as part of a $4 billion planned investment in Central America. Republicans and Democrats have criticized Vice President Harris and the Biden Administration for the way the crisis at the border has been handled. Vice President Harris has brushed aside the criticism.
What have Officials had to Say?
“After 75 days in charge of the Biden Border Crisis, Kamala Harris still refuses to visit the border.” Republican National Committee Hispanic communications director, Jaime Florez, was quoted by Fox News. “Instead of addressing firsthand the human costs of the disastrous Biden administration border policies, Kamala is yet again ignoring the millions of Americans affected. Kamala’s meetings in Mexico and Guatemala are about shifting blame away from the Biden administration, not solving the crisis she and Biden created,” he said. Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar’s biggest gripe with the administration is, what Vice President Harris calls “root cause,” focusing on Central America, while not enforcing laws that stop illegal immigrants coming to the border. He wants to see more solutions to help U.S. border towns, where the concern is property damage to ranches. Cuellar said the Biden administration must do more to penalize gang members who break the law and illegal immigrants who seek asylum incorrectly. Both sides want to see the Biden administration doing things to help border towns here in the U.S.. Instead, they are doing nothing to help here at home, and are taking trips to these countries to plead for the people to not come. The trip could be beneficial, if it was backed up with action. What will asking do, without action from the U.S.?
Past administrations have attempted to fix things from within the countries potential migrants come from but it never seems to work. Former President Donald Trump started building a wall, then took a stricter stance on illegal immigration, and the numbers went down. The Biden administration stopped construction of the wall, then welcomed illegal immigrants and people seeking asylum incorrectly, and are now doing nothing about the toll it is taking on their own people. Some experts attribute the numbers being down during Trump’s presidency to the closures of the COVID pandemic. You can see for yourself here, and form your own opinion.
Written by: Erinn Malloy