VP Harris in Mexico: Illegal migration 'stems from the problems in these countries'

Zarrin Ahmed & Daniel Uria
Vice President Kamala Harris, pictured at the White House in Washington, D.C., on June 3, said Tuesday she's in Mexico to renew our nation's important partnership with its neighbor to the south. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI
Vice President Kamala Harris, pictured at the White House in Washington, D.C., on June 3, said Tuesday she's in Mexico to "renew our nation's important partnership" with its neighbor to the south. Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

June 8 (UPI) -- Vice President Kamala Harris said the United States is committed to addressing the root causes of migration on a trip to Mexico on Tuesday.

Harris met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico City to discuss immigration policy and said she hoped to diagnose the issues causing people in Central America to cross the border into the United States.


"I want to be very clear that the problem at the border in large part, if not entirely, stems from the problems in these countries," she said. "I cannot say it enough. Most people don't want to leave home."

Harris' Mexico visit comes after she visited Guatemala on Monday, where she told Central Americans that "help is on the way" if illegal migration to the United States is to be curbed.

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The vice president faced criticism for not traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border after being tasked with working to stem the flow of migration into the United States and assured she would do so in the future.

"Listen, I've been to the border before, I will go again," she said.

Harris said she chose to travel to Mexico and Guatemala as part of her first foreign trip since taking office in January to "understand why people leave."

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"If you want to address the needs of a people, you must meet those people. You must spend time with those people," she said while addressing reporters after the meeting. "Because the only way we can actually fix the problem is to understand the problem."

Lopez Obrador told reporters that the Mexican government was "very pleased" to have Harris in Mexico, adding they would discuss border security as well as the "fundamental root causes" of migration.

Harris tweeted before the meeting that the United States and Mexico "share history and family" and that their economies and national security are reliant on each other.

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She told reporters that the theme of global interconnectivity was a theme that stood out from her trip and that "we are entering a new era around the globe."

"The president and I feel strongly that what happens abroad matters to the people of the United States," Harris said. "We believe not only in the importance -- and to our national security and our economic security and our well-being -- that it is critical that we work on and continue to reengage on our allies across the globe. We understand those relationships have an impact to us domestically."

President Joe Biden put Harris in charge of the migrant surge at the southern border. The number of migrants this year is already the most since 2006, according to preliminary Customs and Border Protection data.

Harris is expected to return to Washington, D.C., after completing the visit to Mexico.

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