Vice President Kamala Harris told Guatemalans during her visit to the nation on Monday that they should not attempt to cross the U.S. border and would be turned away if they did.
“I want to emphasize that the goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home, at the same time I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making the dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border — do not come, do not come,” she said, according to a Fox News report.
“The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border,” she said.
“There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur but we, as one of our priorities, will discourage illegal migration and I believe if you come to our border you will be turned back.”
Announcing New Investments in Guatemala
In addition to telling potential immigrants not to cross the border illegally, Harris announced American investment plans in partnership with Guatemala.
According to The Hill,”the U.S. would invest in agricultural businesses and affordable housing and help support entrepreneurs in Guatemala. The White House said that it plans to invest $48 million over four years to boost economic opportunity in Guatemala.”
The Hill also reported Harris stating “the U.S. would send a half-million surplus coronavirus vaccines to Guatemala as part of a broader effort to boost the global vaccine supply.”
A Surprising Strategy Change?
The words came as a surprise to many, as the vice president’s words contrasted the policy changes of President Joe Biden’s administration.
In addition, Biden reinstated the Obama era catch and release policy that allowed those apprehended for illegal immigration to stay in the U.S. until a hearing.
Harris has offered a new message for the nation’s southern neighbor, but the words are unlikely to stop the surge at the nation’s border.
More than 178,000 illegal immigrants crossed in April, according to the Fox News report.