Guatemala President Blames Joe Biden's Policies for Border Crisis, but Kamala Harris Says Climate Change Drives Increased Migration
Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei had blamed U.S. President Joe Biden's immigration policies for the ongoing border crisis.
But Vice President Kamala Harris claimed that the current crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border is widely the result of climate change and the economy, which Giammattei disagreed on, according to The Federalist report.
Alejandro Giammattei was not the only one to criticize Harris and the Biden administration. Some of the Guatemalans had protested against Harris' visit for more diverse reasons other than immigration.
Harris' motorcade was met with Guatemalans carrying signs with a writing telling "Trump won" and "go home," New York Post reported.
Another sign that a protester was holding said that the vice president should mind her own business. It is not yet clear how many participants were involved in the said protest during Harris' motorcade.
Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei Meets With Kamala Harris
Alejandro Giammattei said that he and Kamala Harris are not on the same side of the coin regarding the issue of migrations.
The Guatemalan president noted that they had asked the United States government to send a clearer message to prevent people from leaving their home countries.
He added that when Biden took office, he said that his administration would reunite families and children, which prompted coyotes to organize groups of children to take them to the U.S.
Meanwhile, Kamala Harris had insisted that the main drivers of the current migrant surge to the southern border are climate change and the economy.
U.S. officials also noted the role that corruption plays in forcing migrants to make the journey to the U.S.
Special envoy Richard Zuniga said they see corruption as one of the most significant root causes that had to be dealt with, Fox News reported.
Kamala Harris said corruption is one of their highest priorities in terms of focus after Biden had asked her to address the issue in the region.
The vice president noted that she and the Guatemalan president had a very frank conversation about the importance of an independent judiciary. They also discussed the importance of a strong civil society, according to a New York Times report.
During a joint news conference with Alejandro Giammattei on Monday, June 7, Kamala Harris said it is important to discourage people from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador from making a journey to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Harris also said that the United States would continue to implement its laws and secure the borders. She noted that if immigrants come to the border, they will be turned back.
According to an Aljazeera report, Kamala Harris directly told migrants not to come to the U.S. She also announced measures to fight human trafficking and smuggling in Guatemala.
The vice president said the U.S. would help create a smuggling, human trafficking, and anti-corruption task force. The said task force will support and train local prosecutors to create an independent judiciary that would uproot corruption networks in the country.
The Biden administration had outlined an investment of $48 million in entrepreneurship programs, affordable housing, and agricultural business in Guatemala. The said investment is part of a four-year $4 billion plan to invest in the region.
On Sunday, June 6, Kamala Harris traveled to Guatemala as part of her first overseas trip since assuming the vice presidency.
WATCH: Vice President Kamala Harris Aims to Tackle Immigration on Her First Foreign Trip to Guatemala - From CBS This Morning
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