Harris takes on graft in Guatemala and tells migrants ‘do not come’

WATCH Kamala blasted by Guatemalan president protestors over border crisis 2020 election

"Do not come. Do not come".

"The question that has come up and you heard it here and you'll hear it again I'm sure, is, 'Why not visit the border?".

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

Still Harris pushed back, saying, "but you can't say you care about the border without caring about the root causes, without caring about the acute causes, which include the fact that you're looking at populations, particularly from Central America, who are plagued by hunger and the devastation caused by the hurricanes and of course, the effect of the pandemic".

"I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that unsafe trek to the United States-Mexico border", the vice president said during a news conference with Giammattei.

Washington has criticized the removal of a senior judge from Guatemala's top court, in what Giammattei has argued was a legitimate process.

Harris' talks in Mexico were similar to those in Guatemala, where she emphasized "the power of hope" along with new efforts to fight corruption.

On the immigration front he announced a new processing center for migrants sent back from Mexico and the United States, which could increase capacity.

"The main thing is that it's very important to show that the United States and Mexico are collaborating and trying to improve conditions on the ground among our neighbors because of the importance that the countries in Central America have for both of us", Zúñiga said.

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Harris underscored conversations she had with Guatemalan officials in which agreements were struck for the U.S.to fund projects that root out corruption, strengthen the rights of laborers and farmers, empower young women and more. "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".

Then, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei hit the airwaves to say that he and Harris "are not on the same side of the coin" on the issue and to reassert his belief that the Biden administration was responsible for the current immigration crisis on the U.S. -Mexico border because of its "confusing" messaging.

"First, seeking asylum at any USA border is a 100% legal method of arrival", Ocasio-Cortez said. She said the United States has contributed to regime change and destabilization in Latin America for decades.

"So, we're not taking guidance or advice from them".

More recently, the U.S. -financed, U.N. Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala helped bring down democratically elected conservative President Otto Perez Molina, a former general, who resigned after massive protests triggered by an investigation into corruption in his government.

The Biden administration on Monday also unveiled details of another task force of prosecutors to combat human smuggling in Central America and Mexico.

The group will complement the efforts to build cases against corrupt actors in the region, the statement said. "I'm in Guatemala because my focus is dealing with the root causes of migration".

Harris also met civil society leaders and entrepreneurs in Guatemala.

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