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Vice President Harris defends trip, says she is addressing migration causes and not just symptoms

Kamala Harris, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
Posted at 1:51 AM, Jun 08, 2021

MEXICO CITY — Vice President Kamala Harris is heading back to Washington, D.C., following a two-day trip to Central America to discuss migration, economic opportunities, vaccines, and other issues.

Harris has been criticized for not making a public stop at the U.S.-Mexico border as vice president. During remarks following her meetings in Mexico City, she said "I think it's short-sighted" to "react to the symptoms and not the cause."

"Immigration is a complicated issue, it is complex. It is an issue we have to tackle on every level," Harris told reporters after her meetings.

She says you can't deal with the situation at the border without first addressing the core reasons for migration.

"The problem at the border in large part, if not entirely, stems from the problems in these countries. Most people do not want to leave home."

Harris says she met with people from "all walks of life" on her trip to Mexico and Guatemala.

"People have pride in the place they are from," Harris said, adding that people who are forced to leave their homes and countries have a desire to return.

She says it's “legitimate” to be concerned about the situation at the border but a simple visit to the area wouldn't address that.

When pressed by reporters, Harris said she will visit the border and reminded the audience that she has visited before and is familiar with the issue of migration and border crossings from her time as a California lawmaker and attorney general.

Harris and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signed an agreement to set up a strategy for economic development in Central America. She visited Guatemala on Monday.