Vice President Kamala Harris recently traveled to Guatemala as part of her first overseas visit as Vice President to discuss the root causes of irregular migration to the United States from Central America, and to address the acute factors that cause people to leave their home countries, including natural disasters, food insecurity, hunger and the climate crisis.
Vice President Harris emphasized the need to give people a sense of hope. “Each of our governments has to give people a sense that help is on the way to let them know that they are seen that they are heard, that we see their capacity, but we also understand their challenges and their need for support and the resources that any human being needs to be able to survive much less thrive,” she said.
Vice President Harris and Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammettei discussed how the United States and Guatemala could enhance cooperation to counter the trafficking of illicit drugs and human smuggling and trafficking across borders.
“Our nations have collaborated on these issues, and we will create a smuggling and human trafficking task force which will work with local law enforcement to stop these crimes,” announced Vice President Harris.
Both leaders also examined the root causes of irregular migration, in particular the lack of economic opportunity for many people in Guatemala, including, but not limited to lack of opportunities for young, primarily indigenous women and girls. In response, the United States will launch an empowerment initiative to empower and increase education and economic opportunities for young women.
“We will also invest in agribusiness and affordable housing and supporting entrepreneurs,” said Vice President Harris.
The United States is particularly committed to anti-corruption efforts in Guatemala and promoting an independent judiciary, said Vice President Harris:
“The United States will create an anti-corruption task force, the first of its kind. Our Justice Department, our Treasury Department, and our State Department will work together to conduct investigations and train local law enforcement to conduct their own.”
“The goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home,” stressed Vice President Harris.
Hope is on the way, declared Vice President Harris. “The actions we take together will improve the lives of Guatemalans,” alleviating the need to flee their homes.