Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday met nearly with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ahead of her long-anticipated trip to Latin America as President Biden’s migration czar.
Harris made solely transient remarks in Washington, saying, “Mexico is our closest neighbor,” earlier than reporters have been escorted away.
“Collectively, we should combat violence, we should combat corruption and impunity. It’s in our international locations’ mutual curiosity to offer quick reduction to the Northern Triangle and to handle the basis causes of migration,” Harris mentioned.
“You and I’ve mentioned it earlier than and understanding a perception — most individuals don’t need to go away house and after they do, it is actually because they’re fleeing some hurt or they’re compelled to depart as a result of there aren’t any alternative.”
Harris confirmed this week that she’s going to lastly go to Mexico and Guatemala on June 7-8.
Biden appointed Harris in March as his level particular person on stemming the migrant crisis alongside the Mexico border amid a surge in households and unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. However she confronted sustained Republican criticism over her lack of related journey as unlawful crossings hit a 20-year excessive.
The White Home took pains to emphasise that Harris would solely deal with the “root causes” of migration and never border enforcement as kids have been crowded into cramped, jail-like amenities.
Harris’ schedule of public occasions has grown noticeably extra full of migration-related content material after critics advised she was backing away from the difficulty.
Harris mentioned Tuesday at an online convention of Western Hemisphere leaders that there’s an “alarming” inflow of migrants alongside the US-Mexico border, however that the issue can’t be solved with out cleansing up corruption in Central America.
“Irrespective of how a lot effort we put in on curbing violence, offering catastrophe reduction, on tackling meals insecurity — on any of it — we is not going to make important progress if corruption within the area persists,” Harris mentioned.
Harris famous that the Biden administration lately boosted US help to Central America by “an extra $310 million” to stem the circulate of migrants. Former President Donald Trump used international help as leverage over the international locations and froze some funding in 2019, arguing it was “most likely simply stolen” by corrupt leaders there.
In public remarks, Harris has attributed migration to a variety of “push” elements, together with hurricane harm, international warming, poverty, racial discrimination and gang violence.
Harris lately held occasions with Central American and US nonprofits and mentioned she requested Japan’s prime minister and Finland’s president to assist stem the circulate of migrants.
Republicans attribute the migrant surge to Biden border coverage modifications and say Biden-backed laws that might enable citizenship for many unlawful immigrants creates new “pull” elements.
In February, Biden terminated Trump’s “Stay in Mexico” coverage that required Central American asylum seekers to remain in Mexico whereas US courts reviewed their claims.