Progressive New York representative Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez has criticized Vice President Kamala Harris for indicating undocumented Guatemala migrants should not enter the United States.
Harris made her first international trip as VP to Guatemala on Monday. While discussing the United States border amid a news conference with Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei, Harris tried to persuade residents not to travel to the US border. According to Harris, "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," reported Independent.
The vice president also spoke to Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday that the United States is planning to bolster relief to the Northern Triangle region and increase cooperation to help manage the steep increase in migration at the US southern border.
The former Californian senator specifically spoke about probing into human trafficking and corruption in Central America. She described a future where Guatemalans could discover "hope at home."
Harris stated that individuals who come to the border will be returned and asked the audience to discourage people around them from embarking on the jeopardizing journey.
Harris made the remarks amid a virtual meeting with the president that marked a ramping up of her diplomatic efforts to underscore the root causes of migration from the region. This was a role designated to her by President Joe Biden in May.
AOC: the US has contributed to the destabilization
The remarks of Vice President Harris did not go unscrutinized. According to Ocasio-Cortez, coming to the US border seeking asylum is a legal method of arrival. The progressive Democrat added the United States has contributed to the destabilization of particular areas of Latin America. She also said that they cannot help set someone's house on fire and then accuse them of running away, reported Fox News.
Several international groups also spoke about the issue. According to Rachel Schmidtke, a Latin America advocate at the non-profit Refugees International, "We continue to urge the Biden administration to build policies that recognize that many Guatemalans will need to seek protection until the longstanding drivers of forced displacement are addressed and realign its message to the Guatemalan people to reflect America's commitment to the right to seek protection internationally," reported The Guardian.
Meanwhile, according to the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, a non-profit organization that works with asylum seekers, the process of seeking asylum is legal, and turning back asylum seekers is illegal, dangerous, and usually sends them back to their deaths. It emphasized that seeking asylum is a right under the United States and international law.
According to the global humanitarian aid organization, the International Rescue Committee, eeking asylum is legal even in a pandemic.
AOC added that the US will continue to enforce its laws and secure its border. She also said there are legal methods by which migration could and should occur.
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