Vice President and appointed “border czar,” Kamala Harris, told CNN Sunday that she “can’t get to Central America soon enough” and will meet with leaders there in an effort to solve the ongoing immigration crisis at the southern border.
Harris was put in charge of handling the border crisis more than three weeks ago and has yet to hold a press conference or address the issue publicly, instead assuring Americans she is working on the issue behind the scenes. Although the United States is reportedly holding more than 10,000 child migrants in detention facilities across the southwest, she has not visited those facilities or, reportedly, discussed the issue with border-state governors.
Both Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) and Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) have invited Harris to tour both the border and the detention facilities, which they maintain are holding unaccompanied minors in unsafe, overcrowded conditions.
Instead, Harris told CNN she will head to Central America to get to the bottom of why thousands of residents of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are joining migrant caravans headed for the United States-Mexico border.
“Yes, we’re working on a plan to get there, we’re working through COVID issues,” Harris told CNN, referring to the so-called “Golden Triangle” of Central American countries. “I can’t get there soon enough.”
“Earlier this month, Harris said that she is planning a visit ‘soon’ to Guatemala with a stop in Mexico. Later her administration said the trip is being planned for June,” the Daily Mail noted.
Harris said that she would skip the situation at the border, despite being placed in charge of the migrant crisis, because “Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is in charge of addressing the crisis there,” per the Daily Mail
Harris claimed Sunday that any immigration policy needs to address the “root causes” of migration, rather than just border security.
“Most people don’t want to leave home, They don’t want to leave their grandparents. They don’t want to leave the place where they grew up,” Harris said. ‘We have to give people some sense of hope that if they stay, that help is on the way.”
She said she is working with other Biden administration officials to put together an assistance plan, though she did not clarify why the United States is responsible for sending “help” to Central America in the midst of an economic downturn.
A planned virtual meeting between Harris Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on May 7th is likely to shed some light on the Biden administration’s plans to assist Central American countries financially. In that meeting, Harris and AMLO are expected to discuss a program that would pay Central American migrants to plant trees in Mexico to help that country address climate change, according to the New York Post.
“President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will discuss a plan to offer citizenship as part of a tree-planting proposal he wants the US to help finance when he meets with Vice President Kamala Harris next month,” the Post said, quoting an unnamed Mexican official “The Mexican leader pitched the initiative, Planting Life, during President Biden’s virtual climate summit at the White House on Thursday and said it could help stem the surge of immigrants to the US border.”