Vice President Kamala Harris issued a stern warning to migrants, saying they should not make the dangerous trek to the U.S.-Mexico border and claiming that they would be “turned back” if they tried to do so.
“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 that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border, do not come. Do not come,” Harris said.
“The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border. There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur, but we, as one of our priorities, will discourage illegal migration. And I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back,” she added.
Harris made those remarks during a joint press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei as part of her first international trip abroad since being appointed by President Biden to lead the administration’s efforts to stem the southern border crisis. Since being tasked the Border Czar nearly 75 days ago, the vice president has yet to make it an urgent matter to visit the border to understand the manufactured crisis the Biden administration has created.
During the joint press conference, the vice president brushed aside criticism pressed by reporters about why she has yet to visit the U.S. southern border, dismissing a border visit as a “grand gesture” that wouldn’t accomplish anything.
“On the issue of Republicans’ political attacks, or criticism or even concerns: The reason I am here in Guatemala as my first trip as vice president of the United States is because — this is one of our highest priorities and I came here to be here on the ground, to speak with the leader of this nation around what we can do in a way that is significant, is tangible and has real results — and I will continue to be focused on that kind of work rather than grand gestures,” Harris said in response to a reporter from the Associated Press.
When confronted by another reporter on whether it indicates a “failure” for the Biden Administration since migrants from the Northern triangle are ignoring their pleas not to make the trip to the border and they “still keep coming,” Harris did not directly answer that question and pivot to blame corruption in Central America.
“You just told people in this region, ‘Do not come. Do not come.’ Would it be fair to perceive the Biden administration’s work on stemming illegal immigration to be a failure if because they’re so desperate, they still keep coming?” a CBS reporter asked Harris.
“So on the issue of corruption, the conversation that I had with President Giammattei today was very frank and very candid, and I think that this is a quality that he and I appreciate in each other,” Harris responded.
“And so we had a candid conversation as it relates to those concerns. And I do believe that with the work that we are doing, some of it which is new, there’ve been many attempts at collaboration between the United States and this region of the world over many years, as you know. Some have worked, some have not. There are aspects of what we are doing now that are new, and also are based on this new era, again where there’s, I think, a greater appreciation for the interdependence and the interconnection,” she added.
Giammattei blamed the Biden administration for the migrant crisis in a Sunday interview, pointing to how the new administration is sending mixed messages.
“The message changed too: ‘We’re going to reunite families, we’re going to reunite children,'” Giammattei told CBS News Face The Nation. “The very next day, the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States. “We asked the United States government to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving.”
Biden’s decision in unraveling many of Trump-era border policies by ending the construction of southern border wall and immediately suspending the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy would attribute the record surge in the last four months of illegals crossing the border, including thousands of unaccompanied minors. The number of US-Mexico border detentions soared to a 21-year monthly high — with more than 178,000 recorded in the month of April, the most of the recent month statistics available.
Harris, who leaves Guatemala Monday night, will participate in a woman innovators and entrepreneurs event before leaving for her second stop to Mexico.