Guatemala and Mexico | Kamala Harris criticized after her first international assignment

(Washington) Barely back in Washington after her first international trip as vice president, Kamala Harris was criticized Wednesday by Republicans who accused her of not taking the immigration “crisis” seriously enough, but also from the left wing of his party. .

Elodie Cousin and Michael Mathis
France media agency

Republican Senator John Cornyn told AFP Wednesday in the halls of Congress that the trip was a “missed opportunity.”

small sentences

On Monday in Guatemala and then Tuesday in Mexico, number two Joe Biden was sentenced to small penalties that, at least in conservative media, overshadowed the first goal of his trip: to search “priority” for the causes – poverty and crime – that drove thousands of immigrants prospects from Mexico and the “Northern Triangle” (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) to reach 15-year record numbers at the southern border of the United States.

Tasked by the Democratic president in March to tackle this thorny issue, she did not present major actions during his tour.

The former senator, along with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at “addressing the root causes” of immigration and helping the population “find hope at home.”

But at every stage, the same question arose: why had the Vice President not yet gone to the southern border to see for herself the consequences of the “crisis” that Republicans relentlessly denounce?

In their view, it was Joe Biden who caused the arrival of large numbers of people by promising a “more humane” immigration policy after Donald Trump and “zero tolerance.”

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nervous laugh

Kamala Harris responded first with an invitation to visit a virtual “situation”. Apparently annoyed at being constantly questioned on this point, the former senator several times accompanied her answers with nervous laughter.

Then she had this startling line on NBC when a reporter asked her again why she didn’t go to the border with Mexico: “And I didn’t go to Europe” either.

Lots of moments have passed since then on Conservative channels and Twitter accounts.

Republicans accused Kamala Harris of “thinking the crisis on our southeast frontier is a funny joke”.

“It doesn’t go into the flaw in our immigration system: the border,” Senator Cornyn said after four years in office for Donald Trump focused specifically on the promise to build a border wall.

“I literally flew over our southern border twice,” another Republican senator, James Lankford, told AFP without stopping.

“Do not come”

In Ciudad de Guatemala on Monday, the former attorney general had a clear message for those “thinking of taking the dangerous road to the US-Mexico border”: “Don’t come.”

Not enough to convince Republicans. “Their policies have said the opposite,” James Lankford said.

The same words angered the left of the Democratic Party.

‘Disappointing’, considered Alexandria’s young man elected Ocasio-Cortez.

Her colleague Rashida Tlaib wrote on Twitter: “The ‘stay here and die’ approach is not the way for our country to promote a more just and humane immigration system.

The White House offered him his lukewarm support. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that Kamala Harris is doing “exactly what the president asked her to do.”

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Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years, knows this: The vice presidency, often in the shadows, can be ungrateful at times.

At the time, he was also in charge of the sensitive immigration file. The second man faces a more difficult task, experts say, as economic conditions in the region worsen due to the pandemic and natural disasters.

In the Senate, fellow Democrats gave a more charitable diagnosis on Wednesday.

“I find her a strong leader and I look forward to seeing the results” of her trip, Sherrod Brown told AFP.

Then Tim Kaine added, “She was the attorney general of California,” a large state on the border with Mexico.

“I imagine she knows a lot more about boundaries than some of the people who criticize her.”

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