Vice President Kamala Harris recently traveled to Guatemala and Mexico to discuss the “root causes” of migration with government officials in the region.
Although there was already minimal confidence in Harris’ ability to effectively address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, she managed to further lower expectations. Harris’ first trip overseas was as bad as it could get and confirmed that the United States (as well as Guatemala and Mexico) should not have any confidence in her ability to lead regional migration strategies and secure the southern border.
Harris’ trip overseas started rocky before she even landed in Guatemala. In a CBS interview that aired the day before her visit to the country, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said that he and Harris were “not on the same side of the coin” on migration and that his administration “asked the United States government to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving.”
Immediately after landing in Guatemala, Harris was met with an unpleasant welcome. Large crowds of Guatemalan citizens held signs with messages including ‘Kamala Go Home,’ ‘Kamala Mind Your Own Business’, and ‘We Reject Your 860 Million Dollar Bribe to Our Corrupt Politicians.’
Soon after landing, Harris made joint remarks with President Giammattei (who told her to wear a COVID mask in front of him) that also received criticism. Harris told Guatemalans to not come to the U.S. border and that the U.S. will continue to enforce its laws and secure its border. This message confused many as Harris has repeatedly advocated for migrants to come to the southern border, Tweeting in 2017 that “Everyone is welcome here.”
Her words likely convinced no one, since the administration’s deeds clearly indicate that coming to the United States illegally will be rewarded. At the same time, she managed to incur the wrath of the ascendant far left wing of the Democrat Party, most notably Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, who called it disappointing.
The trip further spiraled downward during an exclusive TV interview with NBC’s Lester Holt. Holt asked Harris if she had any plans to visit the southern border to get a firsthand look at what is happening. Harris became flustered and stated, “We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.” To which Holt pointed out, “You have haven’t been to the border.” The vice president smugly responded, “…and I haven’t been to Europe. I don’t understand the point that you’re making.”
The tone-deaf statement from Harris triggered a flurry of articles, videos, memes, and other media worldwide. It became one of the most embarrassing moments of her time as vice president as she seemed to be unaware of the record number of migrant children held in federal custody and the ever-expanding human and drug smuggling industries occurring at the border under her leadership.
The following day, Harris traveled to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador, also to discuss and address the “root causes” of migration. But the trip also received bad reviews.
Harris’ visit to Mexico came just after the country’s violence-marred midterm elections. One Mexican government official called her visit “not ideal.” Sergio de la Pena, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said that “Whenever you do visits like this, you take a look at what issues are taking place in the partner nation she want to go visit (sic), or whatever country you want to go visit – so why would you show up immediately after an election on Sunday for a visit on Tuesday?”
Harris left Mexico agreeing to a $130 million commitment over the next three years from the U.S. to support labor reforms in Mexico and loans to bolster southern Mexico’s economy—despite foreign aid showing little to no impact on curbing illegal migration.
Vice President Kamala Harris’ first overseas trip did not go well, to say the least. She did not receive warm welcomes. Her messaging remained confusing. She appeared tone-deaf on national television. Her awareness of foreign policy and customs lacked. And the agreements she signed continue to do little to effectively address the situation at the southern border. Her trip can only be seen as a failure and confirmation that is she the wrong person to lead the effort to fix one of the worst border and humanitarian crises in history.