The president of Guatemala says he blames the U.S. border crisis on President Joe Biden and the Democrats' "lukewarm" response to the influx of illegal immigrants crossing the border. The statement comes after President Alejandro Giammattei met with Vice President Kamala Harris where he urged her to impose harsher penalties for human trafficking. Harris had met with Giammattei at a summit as part of her first foreign visit as vice president.
"Well, humanitarian messages were used here by the coyotes in a distorted manner because what they said over there was that they will promote family reunification," Giammattei said, according to the New York Post. The Guatemalan president's comment seems to refer to Biden's messaging on immigration during the 2020 presidential campaign.
"So the coyotes came and took the children and the teenagers to the United States and the borders were full, not only with people from Guatemala, but with a lot of people from all over," Giammattei said. "Which is why our proposal is that messages should be clear."
"The vice president sent a clear message yesterday of 'Do not come because we will not let you in.' That's a clear message — but if you have a lukewarm message, it only creates the opportunity to misinterpret."
At a press conference on Monday, Harris told reporters in front of Giammattei: "I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come, do not come."
"The United States will continue to enforce our laws, and secure our border. There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur, but we, as one of our priorities, will discourage illegal migration," she added. "And I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back."
But at their meeting Wednesday, Giammattei continued to insist to Harris that the U.S. include more substantial federal charges against traffickers and coyotes.
Since the Biden administration undid former President Donald Trump's border policies, a flood of migrants has crossed the border. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, "180,034 persons" attempted "entry along the Southwest Border," in May alone.
People in countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have taken the policy moves under Biden, as well as the welcoming tone from Democrats, to seek refuge in the U.S.
Compounding the issue, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in early March that problems stem from the former administration. Conversely, Harris has said the problems stem from an LGBTQ issue, according to The Post Millennial.
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