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Immigration

Mixed signals: VP Harris now tells migrants ‘don’t come’

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Vice President Harris implored migrants not to attempt to cross the border alongside Guatemalan President Alejandro Giamattei during a news conference in Guatemala Monday. Her arrival Monday was her first international trip since she was inaugurated. She also seemed to imply to reporters in the room that neither she or President Biden will be making the “grand gesture” of visiting the border themselves.

“I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come,” Harris said. “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.”

But, when it came to describing the consequences of attempting to cross the border, Harris was less brazen. “And I believe if you come to our border you will be turned back,” the vice president said. She asked Guatemalans instead to “find hope at home.”

During her remarks, Harris announced a young women’s empowerment initiative and investments in agribusiness and affordable housing. She also announced that she has created an anticorruption task force alongside the Justice, Treasury and State departments, which she called “the first of its kind.”

Yet, as an Associated Press reporter pointed out after the conference, Giamattei has openly opposed anti-corruption efforts. Harris responded that the task force would combat corruption with or without Giamattei’s support.

President Giammattei also alluded that Harris promised to return to Guatemala in the future. But, when that same AP reporter asked Harris about visiting the border, she said she’d rather focus on efforts similar to the ones made by her and Giammattei Monday than “grand gestures.”

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Economy

Michigan asks residents to house migrants, enroll children in school and help adults find employment

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Michigan is asking its residents to help with the mess its leadership created and house migrants in their own homes. The state Department of Labor and Economic Development said volunteers who participate must commit for at least 90 days as part of the refugee support program.

In addition to opening up their homes, sponsors are expected to support newly arrived refugees by greeting them at the airport, securing and preparing initial housing, enrolling children in school and helping adults find employment.

“Programs like the Welcome Corps advance the Office of Global Michigan’s mission to make Michigan the home for opportunity for our immigrant, refugee and ethnic communities,” said Poppy Hernandez, Global Michigan Director and Michigan’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. “Expanded refugee resettlement pathways empower more Michiganders to support our state’s growing refugee population and build a more welcoming and inclusive Michigan for all.”

The migrants will come from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, all points of origin where many have been hoping to apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Fox News reports “cities like New York and Chicago have also dealt with issues related to migrants committing crimes, as well as pushback from residents who have voiced anger and concern over the influx. Migrant shelters in those cities have largely been full, forcing officials to come up with ways to safely house the migrants.”

Last year, Massachusetts officials asked residents to open their doors as migrant shelters were full at the time. “Most importantly, if you have an extra room or suite in your home, please consider hosting a family. Housing and shelter is our most pressing need and become a sponsor family,” said Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll.

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