Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday highlighted violence against minority groups as a “root cause” of migration that she wanted to tackle in Central America.
Harris hosted a video conference call with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei Tuesday afternoon to discuss the migrant crisis, calling out violence against “women, Indigenous people, LGBTQ people, and Afro-descendants” in the country.
There are also longstanding issues that are often called the “root causes” of immigration. We are looking at the issue of poverty and the lack, therefore, of economic opportunities; the issue of extreme weather conditions and the lack of climate adaptation; as well as corruption and the lack of good governance; and violence against women, Indigenous people, LGBTQ people, and Afro-descendants.
Harris said she wanted to help Guatemala after describing the region as a source of violence against minorities and the host of poverty and corruption.
“We want to work with you to address both the acute causes as well as the root causes in a way that will bring hope to the people of Guatemala that there will be an opportunity for them if they stay at home,” she said.
Harris said the United States had a responsibility to improve living conditions for Guatemala.
“Part of the spirit behind our work is that, of course, the Western Hemisphere is our collective home, and the people in it and our neighbors — including the people of Guatemala — are nearby and we have a responsibility, therefore, to engage,” she said.
Harris is expected to travel to Guatemala in June to further highlight the migrant crisis after President Joe Biden put her in charge of diplomacy with Central American countries to help stop the flood of migrants coming to the Southern border.
The vice president has repeatedly claimed she is not in charge of the overall migrant crisis at the border but the “root causes” in countries like Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
“The president has asked Secretary Mayorkas to address what is going on at the border… I have been asked to lead the issue of dealing with root causes in the Northern Triangle,” she said at an event earlier this month.