Kamala Harris Tells Guatemalans: Don't Come To The US

Paola Ditto
Giugno 8, 2021

Giammattei defended his own record in fighting corruption, saying he had not been accused of wrongdoing and saying graft was not only a problem faced by politicians.

Guatemala is one of three countries referred to as the "Northern Triangle", with neighbors El Salvador and Honduras making up the other two, which are seen as the primary source of migrants headed north to safety in the US.

"Most people don't want to leave where their grandmother lives", Harris said.

Speaking at a news conference with Giammattei, Harris delivered a blunt message to anyone thinking of making the unsafe journey north: "Do not come".

"Do not come. Do not come".

"I am against her stepping over the sovereignty of the Guatemalan...most of all to bring an anti-corruption agenda, where they protect good but corrupt people, where she has met with convicts in the United States", stated Jorge Lemus, former captain of infantry for the Guatemalan Army.

"If you come to our border, you will be turned back".

Harris' Guatemala visit was her first overseas trip as vice president, part of her mission of tackling root causes of migration from Central America to the United States.

"I'm just focused on that kind of work as opposed to grand gestures", she said.

The Biden administration on Monday also unveiled details of another task force of prosecutors to combat human smuggling in Central America and Mexico.

Harris talked about the creation of a task force to crack down on smuggling and human trafficking, and said, "The underlying reason for so much of what we are seeing in terms of this level and type of corruption is about profit".

The group will complement the efforts to build cases against corrupt actors in the region, the statement said.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in March that the USA was "on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years".

Harris was also greeted by protesters chanting "Trump won" and "go home" as she arrived in Guatemala. Priorities include economic development, climate and food insecurity and women's issues, White House officials said.

Harris is due to travel to Mexico after Guatemala for talks with the Mexican government on Tuesday. "I know, as you do, that Guatemala is a country with incredible resources - historically and now - but there is work that we can do together to grow the capacity of those resources and to reach the people".

Harris discussed sharing COVID-19 vaccines with Guatemala during the meeting, she said.

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