New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called out Vice President Kamala Harris for warning Guatemalan migrants not to come to the United States.
Harris is currently on her first foreign trip as vice-president and stopped in Guatemala on Monday. During a press conference with Guatemala’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, Harris addressed human trafficking in Central America, saying the states would take a harder line on the issue and investigate potential corruption.
She asserted the White House’s current position that most of those who crossed the border illegally would be turned away. Harris says that those hoping to start a life in the U.S. should seek legal pathways or protection closer to their home countries.
“The goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home,” Harris said. “At the same time, I want to be clear to folks in the region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come,” she added. “I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back.”
But Ocasio-Cortez disagreed with Harris’ message, calling it “disappointing.”
“First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival,” the congresswoman tweeted. “Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing.”
Harris, the daughter of immigrant parents, may have been expected to take a more compassionate position when it comes to the matter of immigration. However, Harris’ blunt message left many progressive Democrats stunned.
Ocasio-Cortez thinks the U.S. is not taking accountability for its part in the “destabilization” of these countries.
“It would be helpful if the US would finally acknowledge its contributions to destabilization and regime change in the region,” she continued. “Doing so can help us change US foreign policy, trade policy, climate policy, & carceral border policy to address causes of mass displacement & migration.”