Vice President Kamala Harris sent a blunt message to Guatemalans during her diplomatic visit: Do not come. While she offered a message of hope to Guatemala and neighboring countries, she warned citizens that attempting to cross the US-Mexico border will only result in getting turned back.
Do Not Come
In her first foreign trip as vice president, Harris dispensed with the niceties and made herself clear. Do not go to the United States. Do not come. This won support from local activists and civil society leaders for a solid start, but it did leave a wide gap in the relations between the US and Guatemala.
In a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Harris said locals can find what they’re looking for at home. “The goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home,” she said.
However, she insisted they remain home. “At the same time, I want to be clear to folks in the region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come. I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back,” she added.
Frank and Candid Meeting
Giammattei and Harris confirmed that their dialogue was a candid session. Both sides went directly to what they want and where concerns lie.
“We don’t have time for glossing over concerns that we have, and so we did have a very frank conversation about the importance of an independent judiciary. We had a conversation about the importance of a strong civil society,” Harris said.
Later, at a roundtable with human rights activists and other civil society leaders, Harris spoke of the “impact that the lack of judicial independence can have on civil society, especially with regard to the highest courts in the land,” which alluded to the President.
Giammattei recently defended moves by Congress to block an anti-corruption judge to the constitutional court. Earlier, the Guatemalan president denied he’s part of the country’s culture of corruption.
AOC Has Issues With Kamala’s ‘Do Not Come’ Statement
Meanwhile back home, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called out Harris for her “Do Not Come” statement. She took to Twitter to sound her displeasure at the seemingly callous words.
“This is disappointing to see. First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival. Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing,” AOC tweeted.
The Vice President has yet to reply to the message. The Vice President remains away on her Central American tour, where she is tasked by President Joe Biden Harris to combat the “root causes” of illegal immigration.
Along the way, Harris identified several acute causes of migration from Guatemala, including hurricanes, persistent drought, and the COVID-19 fallout. Root causes include poverty and lack of economic opportunities. In addition, corruption and the absence of good governance are prevalent.
Watch the Reuters video reporting that VP Kamala Harris in Guatemala tells migrants ‘Do not come’:
What do you think of VP Kamala Harris’s statement telling Central Americans not to come to America? Do you think the Biden government would smarten up and close the borders? Or, is this just another Democrat lip service?
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