Mexico's president says she'll visit Central American border to help curb migration

4 minutes
Mexico's president says she'll visit Central American border to help curb migration

Vice President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said she would visit the Central American border but urged the American lawmakers to focus on the causes of mass migration from Central America, deflecting Republican criticism after meeting with Mexican president Kamala Harris on Tuesday.

It would be very easy to just say that we will travel to one place and therefore it's solved. Well, I don't think anyone thinks that that would be the solution," Harris told reporters traveling in Mexico on Tuesday.

I've been over to the border before. I will go again. What's going on in Guatemala, but as the father of the Guatemalan woman, is it better for me to have conversation about what's going on in Guatemala?

On the second day of a trip to the region, Harris plans to lead a U.S. government effort to curb a historic increase in migration from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Harris defended her approach earlier Tuesday, saying in an interview on NBC News that there is 'not going to be a quick fix.

During her trip, she has been asked repeatedly about the Republican criticism that she has yet to visit the border with Mexico as Vice President of States. She sat at an interview with NBC News Monday evening to email the question.

'And I haven't been to Europe,'s said. I mean, I don't understand the point you are making. I don't construe the borders as an easy issue to watch.

She gave a fuller explanation on Tuesday, describing her diplomatic efforts as vital to identify the causes of migration and build partnerships with the leaders of the countries where migrants are fleeing.

You can't say that you care about the border without caring about the acute causes, caring about the root causes which include the fact that you're looking at populations particularly from Central America who are plagued by hunger and the devastation caused by the hurricanes and of course the effect of the pandemic, said Stacey, referring to a pair of powerful hurricanes that hit Central America late last year. They did major damage to agriculture industry, a particular employer.

Let's approach this in a way that acknowledges there are many factors and, as with any intractable issue, we can not be simplistic and assume that there is only one element or one solution for the whole problem, she said.

Harris returned to a border trip later Tuesday to conclude her trip, but in a news conference again insisted U.S. migration has to be considered abroad.

Let's talk about what is going on in the cities that are causing the issue at the border, she said, calling it shortsighted to concentrate on borders alone. You have to go to the core of what is causing it.

Harris and the Central America leader, known as AMLO, observed in Mexico City as officials from their respective governments signed an agreement to cooperate on development programs designed to improve economic conditions in Mexico City.

Underscoring the human-rights challenge that she faces, Harris also came under fire from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a prominent Democrat, and other social groups that expressed disappointment at her warning to migrants not to make the journey to the U.S.

On Monday she visited Guatemala where she met with President Alejandro Giammattei and announced several new initiatives to curb human trafficking and corruption as well as tackling poverty and violence, which U.S. officials blame for the migration spikes.

During a news conference on Monday she told would-be migrants: 'Do not come, warning that if you come to our border, you will be turned back."

Biden and other officials in the administration have made similar remarks before. And the president has maintained a pandemic-era policy that has led to the expulsion of most migrants crossing the border, including asylum seekers.

The American government limited Press Access to Harris's meeting with Lopez Obrador by restricting coverage to five Mexican journalists and allowing them to watch for about three minutes. AMLO's Party lost its Supermajority in the Midterm Elections on Sunday in the Lower House of Mexico's Legislature.

The two leaders have agreed to work together to reduce the economy in the Mexican government and increase economic opportunities as part of a strategy to equalize migration, according to a statement from the government.

A statement from Harris' office said that the U.S. government had 'developed a package of grants, loans and other assistance' aimed to create $250 million in new investment and sales in southern Mexico. The two governments work together on a number of other issues, including to end the more than 82,000 cases of missing persons and disappearances in Mexico, potentially bringing closure to tens of thousands of families and also reducing impunity for offenders.

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