April 15, 2021.- The Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, said Wednesday, April 14th, that she plans to travel soon to Mexico, Guatemala and possibly other Central American countries to talk about how to “deal with the root causes” that generate irregular immigration to the United States.
Harris, whom President Joe Biden has entrusted with the mission of coordinating with Central American countries to try to stop the massive arrival of undocumented immigrants to the southern border of the United States, made the announcement during a meeting with experts in the region.
The vice president assured that for now, she has no plans to visit the southern US border, but that she does plan to make her first trip to the Northern Triangle of Central America soon, which will include stops in Mexico and Guatemala.
She did not clarify whether she will also visit the other two countries that make up the Northern Triangle, Honduras and El Salvador, whose citizens, along with those of Guatemala, make up the majority of the undocumented migrants who arrive at the border between Mexico and the United States.
Harris explained that she does not plan to visit that border area because that is the job of the US Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, while the mission that she has assumed is to “deal with the root causes” that generate irregular immigration.
He added that the United States has the opportunity to provide the citizens of Central America “some kind of hope that, if they stay at home,” things can go well for them, despite the high levels of violence and poverty in the Northern Triangle.
Harris’s objective is to determine “what (the United States) can do to promote development” in the region, a change that will take time to arrive, but which involves combating corruption, strengthening the economy or passing climate reforms, he stressed.
The vice president met at the White House with several experts on immigration, Central America and development, including Dan Restrepo, who was the main adviser for Latin America to former President Barack Obama (2009-2017) during part of his term.
The meeting was also attended by Oxfam’s adviser for Central America, Vicki Gass; the president of the Washington-based Institute for Immigration Policy, Andrew Selee; the co-director of the working group for Latin America, Lisa Haugaard; and Geoff Thale, the president of the independent Washington Office for Latin America (WOLA).
In addition, there were the director for Latin America of the Atlantic Council study center, Jason Marczak; and Carolina Herrera Jáuregui, specialist in climate change and green financing in the organization Council for the Defense of Natural Resources.
Since Biden commissioned her to deal with immigration issues at the end of March, Harris has spoken by phone with the presidents of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei, and of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Last week, the US government revealed record numbers of arrests of undocumented immigrants on its border with Mexico, with more than 172,000 in March, including almost 19,000 minors, a historic figure.
The White House has insisted that the border “is closed” and that most of those who arrive without documents will be expelled, but that has not reduced arrivals to the border area.
The Biden Executive has been criticized because many minors who have crossed the border have stayed longer than their are allowed by law in detention centers run by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which are not designed to kids.