GUATEMALA'S president has blamed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for the migrant crisis, arguing their policies have encouraged the surge.
Alejandro Giammattei said on Wednesday the administration's mixed and "lukewarm" messaging has "created the opportunity to misinterpret."
Read our Kamala Harris live blog for the latest news and updates…
Giammattei, who met with Harris this week, told Fox News: "What they said [in the US] is that they will promote family unification – so the coyotes took the children and teenagers to the U.S., and the order was full, not only with people from Guatemala.
"[That] is why our proposal is that messages should be clear. But if you have a lukewarm message, it only creates the opportunity to misinterpret."
He spoke with the network shortly after the VP departed the country for Mexico.
Journalist Sara Carter, who interviewed Giammattei, said: "He pushed back against the Biden administration. He said this border crisis is one of your own making. Don't put the blame on us."
Giammattei's comments came after data showed border crossings last month are up 674 per cent compared to May last year. There were 180,034 migrants recorded crossing into the US in May 2021.
The White House is said to be "perplexed" by Harris' trip to Guatemala and Mexico.
Harris, who had little foreign policy experience before taking office, had said the trip would focus on the "root causes" of migration to the US and touted it herself as a "success."
She has dismissed a trip to the border as a "grand gesture" and despite increasing pressure from Republicans, said she won't be "playing the part."
White House officials had also hoped for a successful trip but feared that her answers to questions from journalists have overshadowed any progress made.
Insiders told CNN that Harris' trip had left her team "frustrated" and the White House "perplexed" as to why the VP was not more prepared to answer questions on the border, Mediaite reports.
The VP was slammed for laughing during a difficult question in an interview with NBC News' Lester Holt on Tuesday.
During a sit down with the Vice President, Holt mentioned criticism from Republicans for not visiting the US-Mexico border.
Holt asked Harris whether or not she has plans to visit the US-Mexico border.
"I – at some point – you know – we are going to the border. We've been to the border," Harris replied.
"So this whole – this whole – this whole thing about the border. We've been to the border. We've been to the border."
When she was reminded by the journalist that she has not personally visited the border, Harris laughed and said, "I haven't been to Europe."
"And I mean, I don't – I don't understand the point that you're making," she said, before insisting, "I'm not discounting the importance of the border."
She claimed there is no "quick fix" to stem the migrant surge just hours before meeting with Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
"The real work is going to take time to manifest itself. Will it be worth it? Yes. Will it take some time? Yes," she said.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz mocked Harris after the comments and claimed that she displayed no willingness to "fix the problem" at the border during her trip to meet with leaders of Guatemala and Mexico.
Cruz went onto allege that Biden and Harris could fix the issues at the border tomorrow, "by ending catch and release and be re-instating the remain in Mexico policy."
Harris had also laughed two months ago when she was asked if she has plans to visit the border.
"Not today," Harris responded to the question before bursting out into laughter outside of Air Force One. "But I have before, and I'm sure I will again."
Harris had also received criticism from the left for taking a hard-line approach to migrants in her comments and telling them not to attempt the US border crossing.
Rep Alexendria Ocasio-Cortez said that Harris comments were "disappointing to see."
“First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival. Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America," she wrote on Twitter.
"We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing.”
Harris has been put in charge of managing the crisis at the country's southern border and leading the White House's efforts to address the increase of illegal migration to the US.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that she expects Harris will visit the border "at some point."
"What her focus has been, what the assignment is specifically, is to work with leaders in the Northern Triangle," Psaki said.
"She's on a trip doing exactly that, exactly what the president asked her to do.
"Her focus of this trip is on meeting with leaders, having a discussion about how to address corruption, how to address root causes, how to work together to address humanitarian challenges in these countries.
"That's exactly what she's doing on the ground and I'm sure she'll report back to the president when she returns."
Harris met with Giammattei and Mexican premier Andrés Manuel López Obrador, discussing increased border security measures and how to address the causes of migration.
The White House has proposed to spend $4billion to address the "root causes of migration" in countries such as Guatemala and Honduras.
Source: Read Full Article