As the new director of the US Agency for International Development, Samantha Power juggles a wide range of global crises. But nothing is more urgent than the historic increase in the number of migrants fleeing Central America to the United States.
During her trip to Central America earlier this month, Power attempted to set a different tone than the direct messages heard by Vice President Kamala Harris.
“Don’t come, don’t come,” Harris told migrants at a June 7 press conference in Guatemala, warning they would be turned back at the border.
“Is it fair to say that his visit to Guatemala was controversial? 60 Minutes + correspondent Enrique Acevedo asked Power.
“Not here,” Power said. “I mean, I’m kind of in his wake. And enjoying the positive vibes that I’m feeling, you know, and the recognition that the first-year Vice President of the United States is focusing on that, you know, his top foreign policy priority, I think people know what that means. “
“But for those who have asylum claims, we also want them to be able to make those claims,” Power continued. “That’s what Attorney General Garland said today when he said,” If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you have the right to claim asylum. “But it’s different to encourage someone to take what is fundamentally a dangerous and very, very risky journey to the border.”
“But, ‘it’s not here–‘ recognize that this has created some controversy at home?” Acevedo asked Power. “Democrats and Republicans criticized his visit.”
“Look, I think she said very, very clearly that we’re interested in addressing the root causes of migration,” Power said.
“She was also very clear when she said ‘don’t come’,” Acevedo said. “You said everyone in the Biden administration is committed to hearing people’s asylum claims. Are these mixed messages?”
“I think we are looking to build capacity in the region for people to make these claims,” Power said. “I mean, Vice President Harris has been taped so many times, you know, in her career, to talk about the importance of asylum. I mean, herself, as the daughter of people who come from different parts of the world, like myself, a beneficiary of the US immigration system. So I don’t think there is any doubt about the Biden administration’s commitment to hearing these asylum claims. “