Vice President Kamala Harris, as part of her visit to Guatemala, on Monday told potential migrants that they should not travel to the U.S. Mexico border — claiming that they would be turned back if they did.
“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.
Harris made the remarks at a press conference alongside Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei as she visited the country in her first visit abroad since being appointed by President Biden to lead diplomatic efforts to the region to help solve the massive spike in migration to the border in recent months.
While Harris and the administration have emphasized “root causes” in Central America like poverty, climate and violence as the reason for the spike, Giammattei had also pointed to a change in message to migrants with the new administration.
“The message changed too: ‘We’re going to reunite families, we’re going to reunite children,'” he told CBS News. “The very next day, the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States.”
“We asked the United States government to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving,” he said.
Harris, on Monday, seemed to be attempting to make clear that message, and claimed that migrants would be turned back as she sought to present a tougher stance on illegal immigration.
“The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border,” she said. “There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur but we, as one of our priorities, will discourage illegal migration and I believe if you come to our border you will be turned back.”