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Vice President Kamala Harris will meet virtually with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei Monday as the migrant crisis on the southern border continues to spiral out of control.
The two “will discuss working together to address immediate relief needs of the Guatemalan people as well as deepening cooperation on migration,” the White House said.
The virtual summit, announced last week, is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday.
On Tuesday, Harris will then take part in a virtual roundtable hosted by the US Embassy in Guatemala City with “representatives from Guatemalan community-based organizations,” her chief spokeswoman and senior adviser Symone Sanders said last week.
The meeting “will underscore the importance of placing the Guatemalan people at the center of solutions to root causes of migration.”
Harris, who confirmed last week that she was planning a trip to the region, but not the US border itself, is also narrowing down a date to visit, the White House said last Wednesday.
While exact dates have not yet been made available, the vice president will travel to the Northern Triangle countries — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — in the month of June.
The Biden administration’s undoing of former President Donald Trump’s border policies has prompted a flood of Central American and Mexican illegal migrants at the US border, including thousands of unescorted children.
Central Americans looking for refuge from the Northern Triangle countries have taken these policy moves, as well as the overwhelmingly more welcoming tone from Democrats, as a sign that President Biden is inviting them to cross the border.
Insisting that the border was not facing a crisis, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in early March that the problems the agency faced should be blamed on the previous administration.
The data, however, overwhelmingly shows that migrants were flooding the border because they believed Biden would welcome them with open arms.
Late last month, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed the new president for the crisis, arguing that the “expectations” he set left migrants with the perception that they would be let into the US.
As the crisis heated up, Biden tapped his vice president to address the diplomatic measures related to its “root causes.”
Speaking to reporters earlier this month while hosting a roundtable of experts on the Northern Triangle countries, Harris explained why she planned to travel to those countries but not to the US border.
“The president has asked Secretary Mayorkas to address what is going on at the border, and he has been working very hard at that and is showing some progress,” the vice president replied.
“I have been asked to lead the issue of dealing with root causes in the Northern Triangle, similar to what then-Vice President [Joe Biden] did many years ago.”
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