MEXICO CITY — Vice President Kamala Harris will cap on Tuesday her first international journey, assembly with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to debate financial cooperation, in addition to joint efforts to fight human trafficking and handle migration to their shared border.
The 2 leaders signed an settlement within the nationwide palace that reiterates a dedication to discourage migration north by addressing the foundation causes of poverty, persecution and corruption in Central America.
“We’re very happy to have her right here and we’ll contact on that topic however at all times addressing the basic root causes,” Mr. López Obrador mentioned when requested by a reporter if he would work with the USA on border safety.
The assembly will conclude a high-stakes go to for Ms. Harris to Mexico and Guatemala, the place she was on Monday.
She has been tapped by President Biden to be the administration’s emissary for one in every of its extra advanced and politically unstable points: bettering circumstances in Central America and deterring migration to the U.S.-Mexico border.
For weeks, Ms. Harris has confronted criticism from Republicans for not visiting the USA’ southwest border, the place an growing variety of lone migrant youngsters and youngsters are arriving, and she or he has additionally tried to handle the expectations of Democrats for Mr. Biden to meet his marketing campaign promise of taking a compassionate method to asylum-seekers on the border.
The journey has proven that her method within the short-term will probably be one which prioritizes a reasonable method to migration and a notion that the border is beneath management, even when it means turning away the very asylum-seekers she has mentioned the USA is dedicated to serving to in the long run.
On Monday, Ms. Harris sparked criticism from immigration advocates and Democrats when she delivered a blunt message to potential migrants.
“I wish to be clear to people on this area who’re excited about making that harmful trek to the United States-Mexico border: Don’t come. Don’t come,” Ms. Harris mentioned in Guatemala Metropolis, standing toes away from the Guatemalan president, Alejandro Giammattei.
“That is disappointing to see,” Consultant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, mentioned on Twitter. “First, in search of asylum at any US border is a 100% authorized methodology of arrival.”
In Guatemala on Monday, Ms. Harris dedicated to supporting the nation’s anti-corruption prosecutors and likewise pledged to make use of U.S. assist to create extra jobs and deal with safety issues in Central America. She additionally touted a useful resource middle the place migrants can find out about refugee and asylum applications that don’t require a journey to the border.
However whereas assembly with Mr. López Obrador, Ms. Harris will seemingly focus on a restrictionist coverage that the administration has mentioned is important to forestall overcrowding in detention services.
The Biden administration has continued to embrace an emergency rule carried out by President Donald J. Trump that empowered border brokers to quickly flip away migrants with out offering them an opportunity to use for asylum. Applied after the coronavirus outbreak, the order justifies the expulsions as a well being measure supposed to cease the virus from spreading.
Beneath U.S. immigration legislation, migrants are entitled to ask for defense as soon as they step on American soil.
Whereas Mr. Biden has mentioned solely unaccompanied minors are exempted from the border coverage, the administration has at occasions this 12 months struggled to shortly return migrant households who cross the Texas border again into the arms of Mexican authorities, due to a change in Mexican legislation and restricted shelter capability south of the border. The US has been in talks with Mexico this 12 months to discover a treatment to the state of affairs.
The continued use of the rule, referred to as Title 42, has prompted criticism from immigration legal professionals, former officers with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention and the administration’s personal medical consultants.
The Biden administration has additionally requested Mexico to extend the variety of safety personnel on the Mexico-Guatemala border in an effort to cease migrants earlier than they will attain the USA. The US has additionally pledged to ship tons of of hundreds of vaccines to Mexico and Central America.