Harris faces an early but pivotal test as she visits Guatemala.


GUATEMALA CITY — During her first overseas journey as vice chairman, Kamala Harris detailed efforts to fight trafficking and corruption in Guatemala so as to deter rising migration that has emerged as one of many extra politically contentious problems with the Biden administration.

The journey is an early but pivotal test for a vice chairman with clear aspirations for increased workplace who’s at the moment tasked with the complicated problem of breaking a cycle of migration from a area that has been suffering from corruption.

Ms. Harris met with President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday, and made her priorities clear.

“Most people don’t want to leave the place they grew up. Their grandmother. The place they prayed. The place where their language is spoken, their culture is familiar,” Ms. Harris stated. “And when they do leave it usually has to do with two reasons. Either they are fleeing some harm or they simply cannot satisfy their basic needs.”

Ms. Harris was tapped by President Biden to put money into the area to discourage the susceptible from making the damaging journey north. Ms. Harris has already dedicated to sending $310 million to the area, a part of a $four billion, four-year plan to enhance the financial system in Central America that’s on the middle of the Biden administration’s technique to discourage migration. Last month, Ms. Harris’s staff touted commitments from a dozen personal firms, together with Mastercard and Microsoft, to develop the financial system in Central America.

The administration may even set up new amenities all through Guatemala the place individuals can find out about acquiring asylum protections within the Central American area, relatively than touring to the U.S. border.

Mr. Giammattei stated that the 2 governments would wish to seek out frequent floor to work collectively.

“From now on, I offer you the best, historic relationship that there can be between the United States and Guatemala, in which you will find a country that wishes to cooperate, a country that wishes to unite efforts,” he stated.

But questions stay over how Ms. Harris will guarantee U.S. assist reaches those that want it most as she works with a Guatemalan authorities that continues to focus on entities preventing corruption. Antony J. Blinken, the secretary of state, has expressed concern to the Guatemalan authorities about its criticism of a lead prosecutor within the area. Mr. Giammattei has accused the prosecutor of having a left-wing agenda.

Ms. Harris has confronted political assaults from Republicans for her position in working with the Central American international locations. At a latest information convention, a bunch of Republicans displayed a milk carton that had been mocked as much as present an image of Ms. Harris with the headline “MISSING AT THE BORDER.”

The Biden administration is anticipating to document this 12 months essentially the most encounters on the border in 20 years.



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