Politics Harris defends telling migrants 'do not come,' not visiting US-Mexico border
In post-pandemic Europe, migrants will face digital fortress
PEPLO, Greece (AP) — As the world begins to travel again, Europe is sending migrants a loud message: Stay away! Greek border police are firing bursts of deafening noise from an armored truck over the frontier into Turkey. Mounted on the vehicle, the long-range acoustic device, or “sound cannon,” is the size of a small TV set but can match the volume of a jet engine. It’s part of a vast array of physical and experimental new digital barriers being installed and tested during the quiet months of the coronavirus pandemic at the 200-kilometer (125-mile) Greek border with Turkey to stop people entering the European Union illegally.
Vice President Kamala Harris is having her first face-to-face meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday on her first foreign trip in office -- but a visit focused on addressing therisks being overshadowed by criticism against the vice president, both from Republicans and members of her own party.
Harris, currently on the second half of ato Guatemala and Mexico, has been facing backlash from conservatives for not visiting the southern border since President Joe Biden tasked her with an immigration role in March, when a record-breaking number of unaccompanied minors were crossing the southern border. Now, she is hearing new criticism from progressives for using her international spotlight in Guatemala on Monday to tell immigrants, "Do not come."
What would a better US immigration system look like? We asked the experts.
Policy experts share how they would reform U.S. immigration policy on the border with Mexico, an increase in child migrants, guest workers and more.His administration struggled to address a sizeable upswing in the number of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border.
The "do not come" message from Harris wasand his top officials who believe it’s critical to communicate the limits of the current system.
Presented with some of that criticism in anthat aired Tuesday on NBC, Harris remained cagey on why she had not yet made a trip to the southern border and falsely suggested to that she has already been -- though she has not since being tasked as vice president to address the migrant surge.
"At some point, you know, we are going to the border. We've been to the border. So this whole -- this whole -- this whole thing about the border. We've been to the border. We've been to the border," Harris said.
Harris tackles migration in high-profile visit to Guatemala and Mexico. Here’s what’s on the agenda.
Vice President Kamala Harris hopes to address the root causes of migration, a politically fraught issue that's vexed several administrations.It's a tall order for Harris, whose portfolio expanded earlier this week when President Joe Biden tapped her to lead the administration's efforts to protect voting rights as several Republican-led states move to restrict access to the ballot.
When NBC's Lester Holt called out the inaccuracy, Harris acted as if she didn't understand his point.
"I-- and I haven't been to Europe. And I mean, I don't-- I don't understand the point that you're making. I'm not discounting the importance of the border," she said.
Her trip to meet with Guatemalan and Mexican leaders is part of ato the issue, senior administration officials have said, of "stemming the flow" of migration in the near term and establishing a "strategic partnership" with Mexico and Northern Triangle countries "to enhance prosperity, combat corruption and strengthen the rule of law" in the longer term.
Harris told to 'go home' by protesters during her trip to Guatemala
Kamala Harris was greeted with protesters demanding she 'mind her own business' when she arrived in Guatemala for her first international trip as vice president. 'Kamala go home,' one white flag with black painted letters read.
Pressed in the interview about why people should heed her warning not to come to the U.S. when many see images of people getting into the country, she pivoted to the focus of her trip: addressing the root causes of migration.
"There is not gonna be a quick fix. We are not gonna see an immediate return," she said.
At a bilateral meeting with President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala on Monday, Harris reiterated a point Biden has been making since taking office.
"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. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border," she said.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., aired her frustrations on Twitter in a post shared by fellow progressive Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
Harris turns focus to Mexico on trip to address migration
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris is closing out her first foreign trip Tuesday with a visit to Mexico and a meeting with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a key but complicated ally in the Biden administration’s efforts to curb the spike in migration at the U.S. border. While Lopez Obrador committed in a previous virtual meeting with Harris that the U.S. can “count on us” to help address the issue of irregular migration, the Mexican president has in the past blamed President Joe Biden for the increase in migration at the border. And he was chummy with his predecessor, President Donald Trump, despite Trump’s hardline polcies towards migrants.
"This is disappointing to see," Ocasio-Cortez. "First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival. Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can't help set someone's house on fire and then blame them for fleeing."
Under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 protocol, and, the U.S. must recognize refugees that fear persecution and are not able to get help from their home country. Asylum seekers are typically given administrative court dates and released while some are detained on a case-by-case basis ahead of their asylum hearings.
Speaking with reporters on the tarmac in Guatemala City Monday evening, Harris didn’t respond to AOC's criticism when presented with it directly but pivoted to the focus of her trip.
"I'm really clear: We have to deal with the root causes and that is my hope. Period," she said.
"I am here because the root causes are my highest priority in terms of addressing the issue and we need to we need to deal with it," she added.
But it's not only staunch conservatives like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and progressives like Ocasio-Cortez who have expressed disapproval with the Biden administration's handling of immigration -- albeit, for different reasons.
Kamala Harris Sticks to 'Root Causes' Migration Message, Doesn't Respond to AOC's Criticism
"This is disappointing to see," Ocasio-Cortex said in a tweet. "First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival. Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can't help set someone's house on fire and then blame them for fleeing." This is disappointing to see.First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival.Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing. https://t.
Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, who represents a border district and describes himself as a "moderate-centrist," has also encouraged Biden and Harris to visit the southern border.
"I think it's important, but I guess he'll do it on their own time and terms," he said in anwith Fox News last week.
Harrison Sunday and returns to the U.S. Tuesday evening.
Immigration authoritiesmore than 172,000 migrants at the southwest border in April, according to administration officials, the largest in a month since the early 2000s.
The vice president's trip also comes as a report from the Biden administrationout Tuesday identifies 3,913 children who were separated from their families between July 2017 and Jan. 2021 under former President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy.
Bidennot to come to the U.S. on several occasions since taking office.
"I can say quite clearly don't come over," Biden told ABC News Anchor George Stephanopolous in anin March. "Don't leave your town or city or community. We're gonna make sure we have facilities in those cities and towns run by department of -- by DHS and also access with HHS, the Health and Human Services, to say you can apply for asylum from where you are right now."
Staff for Harris on the ground in Guatemala told ABC News they are hopeful the first "migrant center" would open in Guatemala in "the next few months."
The Department of Homeland Security last week formally terminated the Migrant Protection Policy (MPP), also known as the, first enacted in 2019 by the Trump administration, which Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said caused a strain on resources.
The policy forced asylum seekers transiting through Mexico to return to dangerous border towns rife with violent crime while their claims were decided in American courts.
ABC News' MaryAlice Parks, Quinn Owen, Justin Gomez and Molly Nagle contributed to this report.
Kamala Harris pushes back on criticisms of her not visiting the US-Mexico border, saying she hasn't been to Europe either .
"I don't understand the point that you're making. I'm not discounting the importance of the border," Harris told NBC's Lester Holt."There may be some who think that that is not important. But it is my firm belief that if we care about what's happening at the border, we better care about the root causes and address them. And so that's what I'm doing," Harris told NBC's Lester Holt in an interview that aired Tuesday.