The purpose of Vice President Harris’ visit to Guatemala and Mexico is to provide support to realize the Biden administration’s goal of reducing the number of migrants seeking entry into the United States, mainly migrants from countries such as Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. This will be her first international trip to the post of Vice President.
“First I will meet with Guatemalan President Giammattei, with whom we have a lot to discuss. We will talk about what we need to do and can do together to support people in need in terms of hunger, economic development, peace, extreme weather and the impact it has had on their economy. “We will also have a very frank conversation about the need to address corruption, crime and violence.”
In March, President Joe Biden asked Vice President Harris to direct the administration’s diplomatic efforts to address the so-called “root causes of migration,” including poverty and violence.
“Addressing the problems in the country brings benefits to all. “It is beneficial for us and the people and the strengthening of the economy there,” said President Biden.
The Biden administration seeks to reduce the factors that push people to leave their countries. Ms. Harris is expected to address strengthening economic growth and easing the humanitarian situation, strengthening civil society, and improving good governance through anti-corruption efforts.
Analysts say the multilateral approach is the first major attempt in decades by a US administration to tackle problems in Central America.
Manuel Orozco heads the Center for Migration and Economic Stabilization at the non-governmental organization Creative Associates International.
“Migration is one of them, the rule of law and governance is second. Another issue is the model of slow economic growth. We also have climate change, an ongoing problem. “These issues need to be addressed systematically, one by one, at the same time, but they are all related,” Orozco told VOA.
On June 1, President Biden’s administration ended the previous administration’s policy of holding tens of thousands of Central American asylum seekers in Mexico pending the processing of their applications.
The administration is under pressure to repeal a Trump administration law that allows border agents to deport migrants because they could pose health risks to the coronavirus. Noah Gottschalk, a policy expert with Oxfam America, spoke to VOA via Skype.
“It is a shame that the Biden administration continues to bring people back under the same conditions. Ms. Harris cannot be fully involved in those issues in the region unless she speaks seriously with other branches of the administration that are responsible for immigration policy and the repatriation of people. ”
Ms. Harris will send welcome news to the region. On Thursday, the Biden administration announced plans to split 25 million doses of vaccine from the 80 million overdoses it has pledged to share with the world.
Some of the doses, distributed through the COVAX program, the United Nations mechanism for providing vaccines to low- and middle-income countries, will be given to some countries in the Western Hemisphere.VOA/