Kamala Harris’ first international trip as vice president to Guatemala to discuss the “root causes” of illegal immigration and the crisis on our southern border was no cause for congeniality and was not without its blunders.
The vice president may have had the American press like putty in the palms of her hands after passing out cookies of her face to the traveling pool on Air Force One, but the warm reception stopped there.
Before Harris’ arrival, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei pointed to Biden policies that are directly linked to the border crisis. He criticized the Biden administration’s family reunification policy because it enables human trafficking.
“The message changed to we’re going to reunite families and we’re going to reunite children. The very next day the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States,” Giammattei told CBS News.
Protestors greeted Harris and her team with signs that said, “Trump won”, “Kamala, Mind Your Own Business” and “Kamala, Go Home”. Another sign said, “Kamala Stop Funding Criminals #FueraDeGuatemala.”
Kamala Harris visited Guatemala and was greeted by angry Guatemalans holding 'Trump Won' and 'Go Home' signs pic.twitter.com/PBj1EsrY7B
— djcalligraphy ™ (@DJcalligraphy) June 7, 2021
Harris held a joint press conference with President Giammettei to address the “root causes” of the illegal immigration crisis. He was left to fend off questions about his country’s own corruption while Harris changed her tune on illegal immigration, telling illegal migrants not to come to the U.S.
“I want to emphasize that the goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home, at the same time I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making the dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border — do not come, do not come,” she said.
“The reason I am here in Guatemala as my first trip as vice president in the United States is because this is one of our highest priorities, and I came here to be here on the ground to speak with the leader of this nation around what we can do in a way that is significant, is tangible and has real results. And I will continue to be focused on that kind of work as opposed to grand gestures,” Harris continued.
A CBS reporter then asked Harris if it was fair to perceive the Biden administration’s work on halting illegal immigration as a failure because migrants are desperate and continue coming.
The vice president dodged the question, focusing instead on addressing corruption and boosting Central American economies.
Following the press conference, Giammettei commanded Harris to put on her face mask as they departed from their lecterns despite the fact that she is fully vaccinated. She willingly obliged.
Guatemalan President reminds fully-vaccinated VP Harris to wear a mask after joint press conference pic.twitter.com/o6hok18SGI
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 7, 2021
Harris’ trip to Guatemala was met with criticism from the Republican party and its leaders who viewed the visit as a way to dodge the pressing crisis at the southern border.
A reporter just asked VP Kamala Harris why she and President Biden have refused to visit the Southern border to see the crisis firsthand.
Her response—delivered from a podium in Guatemala—was that going to America’s border would be nothing more than “grand gestures.” pic.twitter.com/ExbUfi5dVv
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) June 7, 2021
Kamala Harris should stop at the US border on her way to Mexico and Guatemala tomorrow to see Biden’s record-breaking border crisis firsthand.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) June 6, 2021
Kamala Harris told people in Guatemala today not to come to the United States illegally, and that the United States will enforce the law.
President Trump was right again about our border. These people are all frauds.
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) June 8, 2021
Kamala Harris went to Guatemala to declare, “If you come to our border, you will be turned back” — but this isn’t “Fascism” for reasons only liberals still recuperating from a five-year panic bender could understand
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 7, 2021
In addition to Biden’s family reunification policy, critics shredded him for ending the Trump administration’s “remain in Mexico” policy that required most asylum-seekers from Central America to remain in Mexico while US courts review their case, for ending the border wall construction, and urging Congress to pass a pathway to citizenship for most illegal aliens.
The administration’s soft approach has certainly not curbed migrants, as border detentions surged to a 21-month high in April of more than 178,000.
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