Vice President Kamala Harris warned potential migrants against making the trek to the U.S. southern border during her first foreign trip as vice president.
During a press conference on Monday, Harris said, “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 that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border, do not come, do not come,” she continued. “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border. 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.”
Finally, she said, “So let’s discourage our friends, our neighbors, our family members from embarking on what is otherwise an extremely dangerous journey.”
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— The Hill (@thehill) June 7, 2021
President Joe Biden’s administration has struggled to address a surge in migration at the U.S. southern border. As of May, the country is on track to see the highest number of illegal border crossings in 20 years.
The surge has been fueled in part by a rise in the number of unaccompanied minors who make the trek to the border. Families and single adults have also been making their way to the border.
However, single adults and families have typically been turned back at the border due to a public health law known as Title 42. Meanwhile, unaccompanied children, and released families, have been allowed to say in the country while their asylum cases are heard.
Experts say the COVID-19 pandemic, violence, economic hardship, and famine have fueled the ongoing surge in migration.
Biden administration officials have repeatedly warned potential migrants not to make the trek to the border right now.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC News, “The message is quite clear, do not come. The border is closed, the border is secure.”
“We are encouraging children not to come. Now is not the time to come. Do not come, the journey is dangerous. We are building safe, orderly and humane ways to address the needs of vulnerable children. Do not come,” he added.
Harris told reporters on Monday she visited Guatemala and not the border because “I came here… 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.”
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