Vice President Kamala Harris will depart Sunday for a two-day trip to Mexico and Guatemala as part of her efforts to hold diplomatic talks to tackle what the administration describes as the “root causes” of the crisis at the southern border.
Why is Harris visiting Mexico and Guatemala?
Harris was appointed by Biden to lead diplomatic outreach in March, as the administration scrambled to deal with a massive increase in border migration – mostly from countries in the Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Harris has come under heavy criticism for not visiting the border and for not holding a press conference on the matter. Her office said she was not involved in the border per se, but in the root causes.
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These root causes include poverty, economic instability and extreme weather conditions in Central America.
“We look at the extensive storm damage due to the extreme climate, we look at the drought in an area where agriculture has traditionally been one of the most important bases of their economy, we look at what is happening in terms of food shortage because of this and, in fact, incredible food insecurity, which we called hunger food insecurity, ”she said in April.
The administration has a long-term investment of $ 4 billion for Central America and has so far pledged $ 310 million in investment for the region as part of the effort to combat the “Root causes”.
Who will Harris meet in Guatemala?
Harris will leave Joint Base Andrews on Sunday and travel to Guatemala, where she will stay until late Monday before moving to Mexico.
According to his office, the goal is to deepen the US strategic partnership and will focus on relations with the Guatemalan government, community leaders and private sector entities. His office says a “multi-pronged” approach will include tackling climate change, food insecurity, poverty, violence and corruption.
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She will hold a bilateral meeting with President Alejandro Giammattei, where she will discuss increasing economic opportunities and strengthening the rule of law, as well as deepening bilateral law enforcement cooperation. She will also meet with community leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as U.S. Embassy staff.
Who will Harris meet in Mexico?
In Mexico, Harris will have a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, to discuss how the two can cooperate to strengthen efforts in the Northern Triangle, as well as strengthen bilateral cooperation on economic and security issues. , including the enforcement of immigration laws. She will also participate in a conversation with women entrepreneurs as well as a roundtable on the job and a meeting with the staff of the American mission.
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Officials also stressed that anti-corruption measures were going to be “the focus” of the trip, and Harris herself spoke out against corruption problems in places like El Salvador.
What is the purpose of Harris’s trip?
It is not clear what will be achieved by Harris’ trip, although there have been signs that the White House has tried to lower expectations for what can be achieved in the trip alone.
Officials stressed that the United States cannot solve this problem on its own and that it needs collaboration with governments and other organizations, including the United Nations. Harris herself stressed that she doesn’t believe the root cause approach will lead to immediate results.
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“I was asked to lead the issue of addressing root causes in the Northern Triangle, like what the then vice president did many years ago,” she said in April. . “But I will tell you that these are problems that will not be solved overnight.”
That month, there were over 178,000 encounters of migrants on the southern border.
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