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Kamala Harris Tells Guatemalan immigrants Not to Come to the U.S.

On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala to discuss immigration after a sudden increase in immigration occurred due to the removal of several restrictions set in place by the Trump Administration. Because of its location, many immigrants from Central America pass through Guatemala toward Mexico and the United States. 

Immigration from Guatemala is partly driven by “corruption” in its government, which contributes to a lack of economic opportunities for its people. Harris met with President Alejandro Giammattei and addressed “root causes” of the immigration spike, pushing the idea that hope and opportunities need to be created “at home” so that people no longer need to flee their country for opportunities and safety. 

Harris is currently under fire because, during her trip, she cautioned people against immigrating to the United States illegally in a press conference, saying, “I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come, do not come.” She continued, explaining that the U.S. would fight against illegal immigration, and stated to those planning on immigrating: “You will be turned back” at the border. 

After the Biden Administration removed some of the immigration restrictions that were set in place, Harris’ harsh warning came as a shock to some. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced Kamala’s message, labeling it “disappointing” in a thread of tweets. Ocasio-Cortez emphasized that “seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival.”

On the trip, Harris also announced that the United States would be sharing some vaccines with Guatemala (while it will not be enough to end the pandemic, it will be enough to “make a dent,” in Harris’s words). Later, she plans to meet Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the President of Mexico, to discuss similar matters. 

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