US Vice President's Message to South American Immigrants: "Do not Come"
By: Prateek Sachdeva
United States Vice President Kamala Harris warned citizens fleeing the Latin American nation of Guatemala that they will not be welcomed in the US. Harris made the statement during a conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Wednesday. The visit to Guatemala is part of Harris’ first round of state visits as the VP.
“I want to emphasize that the goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home. At the same time, I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come, do not come,” Harris had said. Her comments underscored the challenge that remains even as she engages in substantive talks with the Guatemalan and Mexican presidents during a three-day visit to the region this week, her first foreign trip as vice president, reports The Times of India.
US Congress Representative for New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, criticised Harris on Twitter, calling her comments “disappointing to see”. “First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival. Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing,” she said.
This stern message by the Vice President comes after Mexican voters cast their ballots in one of the largest and deadliest elections in the country. Over 80 politicians were killed in the run-up to the elections with 21,000 local and national seats in Mexico.
“This electoral process has been one of the most violent,” Erika Guevara-Rosas, a Mexican- American human rights lawyer and the Americas director at Amnesty International stated. “It is reflective of the human rights crisis that Mexico has been facing for many years.”
Central America has long been affected by poverty and violence, amid entrenched cycles of political instability partly caused by criminal elites. Experts contend the US has often aided oppressive regimes. Despite the litany of dangers migrants often face when travelling north, the journey is often safer than remaining at home.
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