Kamala Harris highlights ‘eco-entrepreneurs’ in Guatemala during her first visit to address immigration issue
During her first trip abroad as vice president, Kamala Harris emphasized the connection between the environment and migration that has flooded the southern border of the United States in recent months.
“There’s been a lot of talk lately about eco-entrepreneurs – entrepreneurs who are focused on climate, who are focused on what could happen, which is to protect our environment, but who also see the possibility of jobs and economic development as a link to that pursuit,” Harris told reporters during a briefing alongside Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei in Guatemala City, Guatemala on Monday.
Harris is visiting Central America this week to discuss the border crisis and other issues with foreign leaders. President Joe Biden has tasked her with addressing the root causes of the influx of migrants from Central America’s Northern Triangle.
In her first public foreign address as vice president, Harris sent a stern warning to people considering coming to the United States.
“I want to make it clear to people in this region who are thinking about making the dangerous journey to the U.S.-Mexico border: Don’t come. Don’t come,” she said.
The Biden administration has sought to connect climate change and other environmental efforts as points of economic opportunity, including green energy jobs in the United States to replace jobs in the fossil fuel industry.
Harris said she and Giammattei have discussed “what can happen in terms of planting trees and what that can mean in terms of ecology and our environment.”
Harris also publicly called on the Guatemalan people to try to keep others from emigrating to the United States.
“Let’s discourage our friends or neighbors or family members from embarking on an extremely dangerous journey where the only people who benefit are largely coyotes,” she said.
Just a day earlier, CBS News aired an interview in which Giammattei blamed the Biden administration for the migration crisis.
“We have asked the United States government to send a clearer message to prevent more people from fleeing,” he said in the interview.
Standing next to Harris at a press conference after a private meeting, Giammattei and Harris both agreed that economic efforts would help stem the flow of people leaving Guatemala for the United States.
“We are starting at ground zero. This is a brief summary.