Vice President Kamala Harris had a clear and direct message for Guatemalan migrants wanting to come to the United States: “Do not come.” On Monday, Vice President Harris sat down with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on her first foreign trip since taking office.
After the sit down, Harris and Giammattei held a press conference where the two spoke about shared priorities, chief among them, migration. Harris said “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.” She went on to say, “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.”
Vice President Harris’s comments attracted criticism. U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Dem, NY) took to twitter to express her displeasure.
“This is disappointing to see,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “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.”
She continued saying “It would be helpful if the US would finally acknowledge its contributions to destabilization and regime change in the region.” This comes as record numbers of people from Central America have gone to the U.S./Mexico border to seek asylum.
Vice President Harris said that she wanted the United States and Guatemala to “work together” to find solutions to “long-standing problems.” She then went on to make several announcements. Among them are an Anticorruption Task Force, a Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force, and a U.S./Guatemalan Young Women’s Empowerment Initiative.