January 28, 2023

US Vice President to Bring Message of ‘Hope’ to Guatemala and Mexico | Voice of America

WASHINGTON – U.S Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Guatemala and Mexico this week, bringing a message of hope to a region hammered by COVID-19 and which is the source of most of the undocumented migrants seeking entry in the U.S.

Harris is taking her first trip abroad as President Joe Biden’s deputy with an eye towards tackling the root causes of migration from the region — one of the thorniest issues facing the White House.

“We have to give people a sense of hope, a sense of hope that help is on the way, a sense of hope that if they stay, things will get better,” Harris has said, after Biden tasked her with leading diplomatic efforts on the issue in March.

She is set to fly Sunday to Guatemala, where she will meet with President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday before setting off to meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday.

Harris also has plans to meet with community, labor and business leaders, according to her team.

Harris said she hopes to have “very frank and honest discussions” about corruption, crime and violence.

Detentions of undocumented travelers, including unaccompanied minors, along the US-Mexico border hit a 15-year record high in April, with nearly 180,000 people intercepted — more than 80% of them coming from Mexico or the so-called Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Vaccines, TPS, Title 42

Donation of coronavirus vaccines by the United States to the region is also expected to be up for discussion.

Harris already addressed the subject over the phone with Giammattei and Lopez Obrador on Thursday, just before Biden announced the shipment of a first batch of 6 million doses to be distributed in Central America and the Caribbean through the global Covax program, plus others to be sent directly from Washington to partner countries such as Mexico.

For security and democracy expert Rebecca Bill Chavez, “a real commitment” on the number of doses destined for the Northern Triangle would be “one very positive outcome” of Harris’s trip.

Another potential topic is the possibility of granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Guatemalans living in the United States, allowing them to work legally.

And there could be talk in Mexico of the end of “Title 42,” a Trump-era coronavirus policy allowing the immediate deportation of undocumented migrants — even those who arrive seeking asylum.

‘A lot tougher’

The vice president’s trip to Central America is part of the Biden administration’s promise of a more humane immigration policy — in contrast to the hardline approach taken by his predecessor Donald Trump.

But Harris faces challenges even more complicated than the ones Biden dealt with as vice president under Barack Obama, when he himself was charged with handling the same matter.

“The conditions have deteriorated dramatically since 2014,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank, referring to a worsening economic situation and an increase in violence, both exacerbated by the pandemic.

Harris’s work is therefore “a lot tougher,” Shifter said, “because the (country) partners are far more problematic.”

The relationship between Washington and El Salvador has been tense since the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly, led by the ruling party, fired judges and the attorney general May 1, and after the U.S. labeled members of President Nayib Bukele’s government as corrupt.

And Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was implicated of cocaine trafficking in a New York court earlier this year.

A group of 18 US Democratic senators wrote a letter to Harris ahead of her trip.

“Ensuring stability in Central America directly supports the national interests of the United States,” said the group, led by Foreign Relations Committee head Bob Menendez.

The Republican opposition, on the other hand, has accused Biden of creating a “crisis” on the country’s southern border.

Congress must still decide whether to approve the $861 million Biden has asked for next year as part of his $4 billion plan to take on the issue of illegal immigration.

in U.S.
Related Posts

Biden Wraps Up NATO Summit Ahead of Putin Meeting | Voice of America

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with European Union allies on Tuesday after wrapping up a summit with NATO leaders, ahead...

Seattle Man Arrested Trying to Join Islamic State Terror Group | Voice of America

June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A 20-year-old Seattle man is facing a terrorism-related charge after he was arrested while trying to board...

After Horrific Domestic Violence Tragedy, a New Life

June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021

In 2008, a family murder-suicide horrified Detroit. Two decades later, one of the surviving daughters is telling her story of...

US Government Finds No Evidence Aerial Sightings Were Alien Spacecraft – NYT | Voice of America

June 5, 2021

June 5, 2021

U.S. intelligence officials found no evidence that unidentified aerial phenomena observed by Navy aviators in recent years were alien spacecraft,...

Biden Kicks Off UK Tour   | Voice of America

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

CORNWALL, ENGLAND – U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived in Newquay, Cornwall, Wednesday evening in anticipation...

Fight Over Canadian Oil Rages on After Pipeline’s Demise | Voice of America

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

BILLINGS, MONTANA – The Keystone XL is dead after a 12-year attempt to build the oil pipeline, yet the fight...

Driver Crashes Into Crowd at Pride Parade in Florida; 1 Dead | Voice of America

June 20, 2021

June 20, 2021

WILTON MANORS, FLORIDA – A driver slammed into spectators Saturday evening at the start of a Pride parade in South...

New COVID-19 Cases in US Fall to Lowest Levels Since Last June  | Voice of America

May 23, 2021

May 23, 2021

New coronavirus cases across the United States have tumbled to rates not seen in more than 11 months, sparking optimism...

Hundreds Believed Dead in US, Canada Heat Wave | Voice of America

July 2, 2021

July 2, 2021

SALEM, ORE. – Many of the dead were found alone, in homes without air conditioning or fans. Some were elderly...

New Robot ‘Mayflower’ Ship Begins Voyage Recreating Original Route | Voice of America

June 15, 2021

June 15, 2021

A fully autonomous ship named for the Mayflower, the ship that sailed to what is now the eastern U.S. state...

Supreme Court Rules in Student’s Favor in Free-speech Case | Voice of America

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

In a high-profile free speech case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a school can’t regulate most off-campus speech...

Harris to Announce Business Investments in Central America | Voice of America

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday will announce commitments from a dozen companies and organizations to invest in...

NASA Picks Venus as Hot Spot for Two New Robotic Missions | Voice of America

June 3, 2021

June 3, 2021

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – NASA is returning to sizzling Venus, our closest yet perhaps most overlooked neighbor, after decades of...

Secretary of State Blinken to Meet with French President Macron | Voice of America

June 24, 2021

June 24, 2021

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in France, his latest stop in a multination tour, where he will...

Death Toll in Florida Building Collapse Rises to 12  | Voice of America

June 30, 2021

June 30, 2021

Search-and-rescue crews have confirmed a 12th death in the partial collapse of an apartment building in Surfside, Florida.  Miami-Dade County Mayor...