Kamala Harris returns to Central America to manage the migration crisis

Here it is again.

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Honduras next week as part of a new effort to address what the Biden administration calls the “root causes” of the ongoing migration crisis, the House announced Tuesday. White.

As part of the trip, the veep will lead the US delegation attending the inauguration of Honduran President-elect Xiomara Castro. The administration said the two women spoke on the phone last month and pledged to “deepen the partnership between the United States and Honduras and work together to advance economic growth, fight corruption and addressing the root causes of migration”.

Harris, whom President Biden named as his interlocutor to address immigration issues in March last year, has been widely criticized for his clumsy handling of the border crisis.

For example, as the United States grappled with a record number of illegal crossings in 2021, Harris did not travel to the border region until June, 94 days after receiving the White House portfolio on the question. Even then, she was criticized by Republicans for visiting El Paso, Texas, rather than going to the Rio Grande Valley, where most crossings took place.

Earlier that month, Harris attempted to laugh at a question from NBC News anchor Lester Holt, who pointed out that the vice president had found time to visit Mexico and Guatemala but had yet to make it. to visit the US-Mexico border.

Harris visits the El Paso Border Patrol Post with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (right), Rep. Veronica Escobar (second from left) and Sen. Dick Durbin last June.
EPA/YURI GRIPAS / SWIMMING POOL

“You didn’t go to the border,” the “NBC Nightly News” anchor pointed out, to which Harris replied, “And I didn’t go to Europe. And I mean, I don’t understand what you mean.

Last month, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei claimed in a Fox News interview that he had not heard from Harris since his visit in June.

“We have had many conversations with your ambassador, but [between] my presidency and the White House, no,” Giammattei said. “I spoke to Joe Biden once because I introduced myself. Then we had Vice President Harris visit. On state and migration issues, we had Mr. [Homeland Security Secretary] Alexander Mayorkas [in July]. Other than that direct communication, no, we haven’t had it.

The White House later brushed off the report, with press secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters that Giammattei had “had a series of conversations” with administration officials, including national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Last week, Harris held a phone call with Giammattei during which she “reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to working with Guatemala on a broad agenda that includes the root causes of migration, trafficking, development economy and the fight against corruption”. according to the White House.

Meanwhile, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who represents a border district, told The New York Times last month that his offers to help Harris with the immigration issue fell on the ears of a deaf.

“I tell him this very respectfully: I have moved on,” Cuellar told the newspaper. “She’s been tasked with this work, it doesn’t seem like she’s very interested in it, so we’ll move on to other people who are working on this issue.”

US Vice President Kamala Harris
Harris was criticized by Republicans for visiting El Paso rather than going to the Rio Grande Valley, where most of the crossings took place.
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Illegal border crossings skyrocketed in Biden’s first year in office. In fiscal year 2021, Customs and Border Protection data felt that officials met approximately 1.72 million migrants who entered the United States illegally or sought asylum.

The number of crossings peaked in July with around 213,000 encounters, then fell steadily for three consecutive months. November saw the most recent peak in border crossings, reaching around 173,620 people.

Authorities have yet to release data on the encounters in December. However, recent footage of detention centers in Arizona showed severe overcrowding.

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