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

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.