President Joe Biden and his administration have refused to call the ongoing flood of illegal immigrants surging across the border a “crisis” and have insisted that the current situation is not of their making. But the president of Guatemala disagrees and went on the record again Sunday blaming Biden for the current border situation.
Vice President Kamala Harris — whom Biden tapped nearly 11 weeks ago with the task of dealing the border surge but has failed so far to even visit the U.S.-Mexico border — arrived in Guatemala Sunday night for meetings with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss immigration.
She was greeted Monday by protesters telling her to “go home” and “mind your own business,” as well as a political dig that declared, “Trump won.”
Giammattei told CBS News on Sunday that the Biden administration is responsible for starting the current immigration crisis, adding that he and Harris “are not on the same side of the coin” on the issue.
The change came with the change of administrations following the 2020 election.
“The message changed, too: “We’re going to reunite families, we’re going to reunite children,'” the Guatemalan president told CBS. “The very next day, the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States.
“We asked the United States government to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving,” he said.
Giammattei said he asked Harris in May to push a bill in the U.S. Senate to make acting as a coyote engaging in human smuggling across the U.S. border a federal crime. His goal, he said, was to see coyotes prosecuted in the United States under federal law.
He said he also asked the admiration to broaden their extradition treaty in order to send coyotes to the U.S. for trial, since laws for coyotes in Guatemala are “a joke.”
Harris told him that she was open to the idea, Giammattei said.
Giammattei’s criticism echoed his statements from April when he told MSNBC that Biden’s confusing messaging encouraged smugglers to drop off children at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I am nobody to make a judgment here, but I believe in the first few weeks of the Biden administration, messages were confusing,” he said at the time. “They were compassionate messages that were understood by people in our country, especially the coyotes, to tell families, ‘We’ll take the children, the children can go in and once the children are there they will call their parents.’ And so those messages were confusing.”
Vice President Harris was greeted by Guatemalan protesters Monday morning as she was set to visit Giammattei at the presidential palace, the New York Post reported.
Signs meant to send a message to Harris said “Kamala, Go Home” and “Kamala, Mind Your own Business” were highly visible along her route to meet with Giammattei.
Another banner declared, “Kamala, Trump won.”
According to the Post, another massive sign featured a photo of Harris doctored to look pregnant and emblazoned with, “Guatemala is pro-life #momalahelpme.”
Yet another sign reportedly said, “Kamala Stop Funding Criminals #FueraDeGuatemala.”
Following her meetings with Giammattei, Harris is scheduled to fly to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Tuesday.
Author: Chris Field