On her first foreign trip as VP, Kamala Harris tells Guatemalan migrants 'do not come' to the US

  • Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala in her first-ever foreign trip as VP. 
  • Harris told Guatemalan migrants “do not come” to the US at a news conference on Monday.
  • “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border,” she said.
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Vice President Kamala Harris told Guatemalan migrants “do not come” to the US in her first foreign trip in the role. 

“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 at a news conference on Monday. 

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

Harris doubled down on President Joe Biden’s administration’s stance that migrants would need to find a legal pathway to the US and would be turned away if they cross the border. 

The administration plans to build on existing programs to expand and make moving to the US easier and cheaper. 

Record numbers of migrants have arrived at the US border since Biden took office, including hundreds of unaccompanied migrants. 

Biden pushed back on claims that the surge was tied to him being “a nice guy” in reference to former President Donald Trump’s stance and handling of immigration. 

Biden said the surge in migrants at the border had to do with weather and the natural disasters in South America. He also blamed the limited viable legal pathways under Trump. 

“He dismantled all the elements that exist to deal with what had been a problem, and has been continuing to be a problem for a long time,” Biden said. “What we’re doing now is attempting to rebuild the system that can accommodate what is happening today.”

During her trip, Harris also spoke about corruption in the region and announced the creation of a task force that would work with local prosecutors. The task force will be comprised of officials from the departments of Justice, State, and Treasury.  

“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. She added that corruption is a reason many are coming to the US and said she wants to restore a “sense of hope” so people don’t flee their homelands. 

“Most people don’t want to leave where their grandmother lives,” Harris said. “When they do,” she said, it’s “because they are fleeing some type of harm, or because to stay means they cannot provide for their essential needs and the needs of their family.”

 

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