Guatemalan president blamed Biden for border crisis ahead of VP Harris' arrival

Harris is visiting Guatemala, Mexico to attempt to address the root causes for the recent surge of illegal immigrants at the southern U.S. border.

Published: June 7, 2021 2:41pm

Updated: June 7, 2021 4:10pm

President of Guatemala Alejandro Giammattei blamed the United States for the migrant surge at the border before meeting Monday with Vice President Kamala Harris.

Giammattei said Sunday, one day before Harris arrived in Guatemala, said increase in the border crossings are in part because of Biden's more welcoming messages toward immigrants as he took office, a stark contrast to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

"The message changed too: 'We're going to reunite families, we’re going to reunite children,' " Giammattei told CBS News Sunday. "The very next day, the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States."

He also said: "We asked the United States government to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving." 

Harris was appointed 75 days ago by Biden to lead the U.S. effort to solve the migration surge at the border.

That effort includes Harris's trip this week to Guatemala on Monday and Mexico on Tuesday to tackle the root causes of the crisis. Harris and Biden have yet to make a trip to the U.S. southern border.

"And so I am in Guatemala today to discuss and advance our shared priorities," Harris told President Giammattei on Monday, according to Fox News. "Foremost among those, as you have mentioned, is addressing migration from this region in particular."

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