Harris says US wants to work with Guatemala to limit migration

June 08, 2021 / 9:09 AM
Sharjah24 – AFP: US Vice President Kamala Harris said Monday the United States hopes to work with Guatemala to address the root causes of illegal migration by creating "a sense of hope" in the poverty- and violence-plagued country, on her first trip abroad since taking office.
Meeting President Alejandro Giammattei in Guatemala City, Harris said reducing undocumented migration from Central to North America was a priority for US President Joe Biden's administration.

"Most people do not want to leave the place where they grew up," loved ones, and people with whom they share a language and culture, Harris said.

But they often do so "either because they are fleeing some harm or because they simply cannot satisfy their basic needs by staying at home," she added.

Regardless of their reasons for leaving, Harris urged would-be migrants not to make the journey: "Do not come" to the United States, she told them.

"The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our borders... If you come to our border, you will be turned back," she said.

Instead, she proposed that the United States and Guatemala "work together" to find solutions to "long-standing problems."

Critically, people must be given "a sense of hope that help is on the way," said Harris.

"It must be coupled with relationships of trust. It must be coupled with tangible outcomes, in terms of what we do as leaders to convince people that there is a reason to be hopeful about their future and the future of their children."
June 08, 2021 / 9:09 AM

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