United States Vice President Kamala Harris was in Guatemala recently but it appears her visit ended up leaving a lot of people unhappy. She drew flak for saying that undocumented migrants from Guatemala should not come to the US, something that progressive New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized.

Harris was with Guatemala’s president, Alejandro Giammattei on Monday, her first foreign trip as vice president. She spoke out on investigating corruption and human trafficking in Central America and described a future where Guatemalans could find “hope at home”.

But the criticism came when Harris touched on undocumented migrants from Guatemala. Harris said that they should not come if they are planning to make a dangerous trek to cross the US-Mexico border.

“I want to be clear to folks in the region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border,” she said. “Do not come. Do not come.”

The comments drew varied criticism. That included Ocasio-Cortez who was pretty disappointed at the words of Harris.

The congresswoman pointed out that seeking asylum in the US is a legal method of arrival. She added that the country had 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,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

And from there, other human rights groups spoke out. Most stood by the fact that seeking asylum is legal and that turning back people planning to do so is illegal, dangerous and in some cases sends them back to their deaths.

Further, Harris was not spared in her decision not to visit the US-Mexico border. After drawing criticism, she explained that she was not overlooking its importance and said to Mexican reporters that she would eventually do so.

The speech of Harris underlined a continued stance of turning back undocumented migrants despite efforts of the Joe Biden administration trying to undo the Trump-era restrictions at the border. That includes changes to the asylum process which appears to be far from getting any clearer.

Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris applauds during U.S. President Joe Biden's address to a joint session of congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol April 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. On the eve of his 100th day in office, Biden spoke about his plan to revive America’s economy and health as it continues to recover from a devastating pandemic. He delivered his speech before 200 invited lawmakers and other government officials instead of the normal 1600 guests because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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