Vice President Kamala Harris said Thursday that Central Americans need “a sense of hope that help is on the way” to deter migration to the overwhelmed US-Mexico border.
Harris was named last month as leader of the Biden administration’s response to a historic surge of migrants illegally crossing the border, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) slammed her Thursday for “avoiding the southern border” since then.
Instead, on Thursday the vice president hosted US philanthropic foundation leaders for a discussion on the border crisis in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House.
“We have to give people a sense of hope, a sense of hope that help is on the way, a sense of hope that if they stay, things will get better,” Harris said during brief public remarks.
“Most people don’t want to leave home. They don’t want to leave their grandparents, they don’t want to leave the culture.”
Harris continued, “So the question has to be, ‘Why do people leave home?’ And often it is the case that people leave home when they don’t want to either because they are fleeing sometimes, or because they are unable to satisfy their basic needs and the needs of taking care of their family. Because the resources and opportunities are not there. And so they have to go elsewhere.”
President Biden’s first federal budget proposal, released this month, seeks $861 million in aid for Central America. With illegal crossings hitting at least a 20-year high, the Biden administration reportedly has considered direct cash payments to deter potential migrants.
The Harris-hosted meeting featured leaders of prominent foundations set up by wealthy industrialists, including leaders of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Ford Foundation. Mark Brown, president of the George Soros-founded Open Societies Foundation, participated virtually, according to a pool report.
Harris said, “I don’t need to tell this group of experts that this is an issue that has been a longstanding issue, it is complex. If it were easy, it would have been solved a long… (Read more)