Kamala Harris Visits Southern Border Amid Migrant Surge Jun 9, 2021 0:27:55 GMT
Post by Admin on Jun 9, 2021 0:27:55 GMT
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to Lester Holt in an exclusive interview from Guatemala where she says the purpose of her trip was “to address the reasons people leave” for the U.S.
Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Central America this week on a delicate diplomatic mission: Offer a message of hope to the people of Guatemala and other countries in the region. But discourage them from trying to cross the U.S.’ southern border because they won’t be welcomed on the other side.
Her approach, on her first foreign trip as vice president, was clear: Be blunt.
That won plaudits from local activists and civil society leaders as a solid start, but also highlighted the gulf that remains between the U.S. and Guatemalan governments, particularly when it comes to cracking down on corruption. Harris' ability to close that gulf will, ultimately, be the most important test of her fledgling diplomatic skills, not to mention her political agility as she positions herself for a possible future presidential run.
“The goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home,” Harris said in a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei.
“At the same time, I want to be clear to folks in the region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come,” she added. “I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back.”
Both Harris and Giammattei said their dialogue, including Monday’s two-hour meeting at the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura, has been frank and candid, with both sides directly addressing what they want and where their concerns lie.
“We don’t have time for glossing over concerns that we have, and so we did have a very frank conversation about the importance of an independent judiciary. We had a conversation about the importance of a strong civil society,” Harris said, nodding to areas where Giammattei and his allies have faced criticism.