Kamala Harris Set to Head to Mexico, Guatemala
Securing support for the Biden administration's goal of lowering the number of migrants seeking to enter the U.S.,
that is the purpose of Vice President Kamala Harris's trip to Guatemala and Mexico beginning Sunday,
particularly migrants from the northern triangle countries-Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
It will be her first foreign trip as Vice President.
"I'll be meeting at the front leg of the trip with the President of Guatemala Giammattei and we have a lot to discuss.
It is about what we need to do and can do together to both support the folks
who need help in terms of hunger, the economic development, peace,
the extreme weather and the impact that has had on their economy.
But it's also about having very frank and honest conversations about the need to address corruption, to address crime, violence."
In March, President Joe Biden asked Harris to lead the administration's diplomatic efforts
to address what they call the root causes of migration including poverty and violence.
"If you deal with the problems in country, it benefits everyone. It benefits us.
It benefits the people and grows the economies there."
The administration wants to reduce factors that are prompting people to leave their countries, so-called push factors.
Harris is expected to address bolstering economic growth and humanitarian relief,
strengthening civil society and improving good governance through anti-corruption efforts.
Analysts say the multi-pronged approach is the first major effort in decades by a U.S. administration
to tackle problems that impact Central America.
"Migration is one of them, the rule of law and governance is the second one.
And as sluggish economic growth model is the third one.
You also have climate change which is becoming a much more persistent problem.
And so, you know those issues have to be tackled one by one systematically at the same time but they are all connected.
On June 1st, the Biden administration ended the Trump Administration's remain in Mexico policy
that forced tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Central America to stay south of the U.S. border until their claims were processed.
The administration is under pressure to rescind the Trump era Title 42
that allows border agents to immediately expel migrants
because they potentially pose COVID-19 health risks.
"The fact that the Biden administration continues to send people back into those same conditions is absolutely shameful.
And the Vice President can't meaningfully be engaging in those issues in the region
unless she's also talking seriously with the other parts of the administration
who are responsible for immigration policy and sending people back into those very same conditions."
Harris will also bring welcome news to the region.
On Thursday, the administration announced plans to share the first 25 million out of the 80 million surplus vaccine doses
it has committed to share with the world.
Some of those doses shared via COVAX, the United Nations mechanism
to ensure vaccine access for low- and middle-income countries will be given to Western Hemisphere neighbors.