Harris says talks in Guatemala were robust, tells migrants: ‘do not come’

Harris says talks in Guatemala were robust, tells migrants: ‘do not come’”

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei meets with Vice President Kamala Harris, Monday, June 7, 2021, at the National Palace in Guatemala City.

Speaking in Guatemala City, Harris said her trip and President Joe Biden's first trip overseas later this week are reflections of their administration's intention to rebuild relationships with allies.

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

"The president and I discussed that fundamentally, most people do not want to leave home, they don't want to leave the place where the language they know is spoken".

"There is not going to be a quick fix", she said.

Critically, people must be given "a sense of hope that help is on the way", said Harris.

Harris met with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday, who said he and Harris are not on the same side of the coin on the migration issue.

Republicans, especially local lawmakers living along the border, have called on Harris to visit the area while she is in Mexico.

Harris announced a joint task force on smuggling and human trafficking, a women's empowerment program, and an anti-corruption task force to help Central American law enforcement prosecute cases.

More news: Second AstraZeneca dose now available for some Sask. residents

Giammattei said the fight against narco-trafficking needed to be an integral part of tackling corruption.

He also announced a new processing center for migrants sent back from Mexico and the United States.

She is also schedueld to engage in events with Guatemalan community leaders and entrepreneurs.

This comes as the Biden administration has vowed to provide more than $300 million in humanitarian aid for the region. In the most recent count, USA border agents faced 178,000 migrants at the border in April, 44% of them from Central America.

Biden has tasked Harris with leading the effort to address the root causes behind the increase in the number of migrants traveling to the U.S. -Mexico border.

The Biden administration has identified corruption as an underlying cause of the poverty and violence driving record numbers of Central Americans to go to the United States.

Ahead of her trip, Harris announced $310 million in USA aid to support refugees and deal with food shortages.

Multiple protesters were awaiting Harris's arrival with signs insisting "Trump won" and asking Kamala to "mind your own business".

Harris, a Democratic former U.S. senator from California, responded to Republican criticism against her for not visiting the U.S. -Mexico border and the administration for ignoring what they say is a crisis there. She said the United States has contributed to regime change and destabilization in Latin America for decades.

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