Vice President Kamala Harris is midway into her first trip abroad to Guatemala and Mexico. The foreign visit aims to address “root causes” of heightened migration from Central America that have created a crisis along the southern border, reported USA Today.
- Encounters with unaccompanied children along the U.S.-Mexico border reached an all-time high in March and continued into April, the second busiest month on record, said The Associated Press.
This foreign trip is a high-profile test of Harris’ position as vice president, said CNN.
Who is Kamala Harris visiting and why?
The itinerary for Harris’ trip includes:
- Monday in Guatemala City, Harris will meet with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, reported the AP. Guatemala is a strategic partner in mitigating migration because of its geography, said USA Today. Many migrants must pass through the country since it links Central America and Mexico.
- Tuesday in Mexico City, Harris will meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said the AP.
In both countries, Harris will also join a roundtable discussion to speak with community leaders, civil service organizations and young entrepreneurs, particularly female entrepreneurs, said NPR.
What will Harris address on the trip?
Harris will discuss a wide range of topics including corruption, vaccine sharing, economic development, gender-based violence and strengthening the rule of law, said NPR.
- The Biden administration is expected to announce new anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking policies on Monday, said the AP.
What are the root causes of migration from Central America?
The root causes Harris will address include:
- Widespread corruption in Guatemala and Mexico has driven migration, said NPR.
- Poor economic opportunities and living conditions have driven migration, said the AP.
What solutions is Harris pursuing?
So far, Harris has stressed an approach that involves government efforts and civil society efforts to address the causes of migration, reported USA Today.
- The U.S. announced $310 million in funds for humanitarian aid in the region focused on relief for refugees and food shortages, the AP reported.
- On June 3, Harris told the presidents of Guatemala and Mexico that the U.S. would share COVID-19 vaccines, said USA Today.
- Harris has also promised “frank and honest” conversations about corruption, said CNN.
Harris is not expected to announce additional aid during this foreign trip, reported USA Today. Rather, the visit aims to strengthen cooperation and invest in civil society groups.