Former US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Ron Vitiello argued in “Fox & Friends First” Monday that the “root cause of the chaos” on the southern border is the overthrow immigration policies of former President Trump.
Vitiello made the comment a day before Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas visited Guatemala.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Mayorkas will visit the Northern Triangle country on Tuesday and Wednesday and “meet with his counterparts in the government of Guatemala on common priorities.”
Mayorkas “will also meet with DHS staff in the country and key DHS partners,” the statement said.
Amid a border crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of migrant encounters in recent months, the Biden administration has placed significant emphasis on the “root causes” of the crisis such as violence, climate change and poverty in Central America and in the Northern Triangle countries such as Guatemala.
The trip comes nearly a month after Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala as part of a trip to the region, in which she was criticized for not visiting the border as part of her role in leading diplomatic talks to tackle the “root causes” of the migrant crisis.
While she highlighted these root causes and unveiled a number of measures to address them, her visit was complicated by Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, who partly blamed the Biden administration for encouraging the push.
HARRIS, WHILE FINALLY VISITING THE BORDER, WELCOMES “EXTREME PROGRESS” IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE LEAK OF MIGRANTS
“Working with Guatemala, working with the Northern Triangle on governance and anti-corruption activities is great, but it will not stop the wave that is currently happening at the border,” Vitiello said on Monday. “We have encouraged people to send or bring their children to the border and the root cause of the chaos is the overthrow of policies.”
President Biden abandoned a number of immigration policies of his predecessor, which included building walls and having asylum seekers stay in Mexico instead of the United States while they wait for their cases to be heard. These measures have led to a record increase in the number of migrants, including unaccompanied minors, which has strained the capacities of immigration centers.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
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Vitiello also argued on Monday that cartels are profiting from the influx of migrants.
“The people who arrive at the border and the people who are smuggled into the pipeline, they are checked by smugglers and cartels,” Vitiello said. “They are the ones recovering from this wave at the border.”
Fox News’s Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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