Kamala Harris Mexico speech live: VP says 'I've been to the border & I'll go again' after criticism for avoiding trip

Kamala Harris Mexico speech live: VP says 'I've been to the border & I'll go again' after criticism for avoiding trip

KAMALA Harris has finally met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador today and later insisted that she would go to the border again – after insisting it was a pointless "grand gesture."

“Here’s the bottom line: we have and it is a legitimate correct conversation and concern [to address the border crisis," she said during a press briefing , at the Sofitel Mexico City Reforma in Mexico City.

Harris went to say the US must also give “equal weight” to the root and acute causes.

“If this were easy it would’ve been handled a long time ago,” she claimed. “I’ve been to the border. I will go again.”

Earlier, she met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to sign the Memorandum of Understanding followed by their bilateral meeting.

Standing in front of the Diego Rivera mural, López Obrador was asked about increasing border security spending to address the crisis.

“We will be speaking to the vice president and we are pleased to have her here,” he said, as Harris looked on. “And we will touch on that subject but always addressing the fundamental root causes.”

Their meeting comes after Harris pleaded with migrants not to enter the US illegally given the escalating crisis in border regions of the country.

"I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come," Harris said yesterday.

Joe Biden's VP then confirmed that anyone who flouted these instructions and arrived illegally would be "turned back."

After the vice president told people in the region thinking of making the dangerous journey, "do not come [to the US]," Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the statement as "disappointing."

Harris left Guatemala for Mexico yesterday evening and touched down at Benito Juarez airport shortly after 11pm.

Read our Kamala Harris live blog below for the latest updates…

  • Fionnuala O'Leary

    ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION

    Today, Kamala Harris spoke to female entreprenuers in Mexico as well as attending a rountable discussion with labor leaders.

     

  • Fionnuala O'Leary

    MASS PROTESTS

    Police officers stand guard, as members of the Mexican Communist Party protest outside the Sofitel Hotel in rejection of Harris' visit today.

  • Fionnuala O'Leary

    BORDERLINE WRONG

    Kamala Harris insisted that she "will go" to the border during a press conference in Mexico this afternoon, which saw her snap at a reporter.

    "Here’s the bottom line: we have and it is a legitimate correct conversation and concern [to address the border crisis]," impatient Harris said.

    Harris went to say the US must also give “equal weight” to the root and acute causes.

    “If this were easy it would’ve been handled a long time ago," she explained. “I’ve been to the border. I will go again.”

  • Fionnuala O'Leary

    FACT SHEET RELEASE

    Kamala Harris released a White House fact sheet after her bilateral meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

    Here are the main takeaways:

    • High-Level Economic Dialogue
    • Cabinet-Level Security Dialogue
    • Strengthen Labor Cooperation (including US' $130million)
    • Work Together To Address Root Causes of Migration in Central America
    • Operations Group on Human Smuggling and Human Trafficking: 
    • Attract Investment to Southern Mexico
    • Partnership to Resolve Disappearances Cases in Mexico

    VEEP LEAP

    Sen Ted Cruz continued to troll Kamala Harris this afternoon.

    Along with a clip of her NBC interview with Lester Holt, he wrote: "Kamala Harris: 'I don’t understand the point that you’re making.' Fact check: True."

    PSAKI SLAMMED

    Jen Psaki was slammed on Twitter for her response to a New York Times journalist who asked for her reaction to Republicans "going crazy" over Kamala Harris' comments.

    During a White House press briefing, Katie Rogers referenced the GOP being annoyed with Harris' commentary and Psaki acknowledged that the opposition party was "worked up."

    "Visiting the border: Republicans and conservatives going crazy on Twitter…[about] her interview," Katie Rogers said. "Does the president feel like there's a scenario where she should go to the border?

    "And also, the mounting criticism from conservatives – would that ever factor into a decision to send her down there? I mean, don't they have a point if she has this task in front of her. Should she not see the end cause as well as the root cause of immigration."

    "At some point she may go to the border: I don't have any trips for you to preview or predict or a timeline for that," Psaki snapped back.

    "But what I would reiterate is that her assignment was to work with countries and leaders in the northern triangle to address root causes, to address corruption. Ensure we're working together to address humanitarian concerns.

    "I will say we're not taking advice from former President Trump or most of the Republicans who are criticizing us on this given they were all sitting there while we created this problem we all walked into both with the border and the movement of migration that has been gorwing over the last year.

    "So, we're not taking guidance or advice from them … If it moves the ball forward for her to visit the border, she certainly may do that."

    'UNACCEPTABLE FAILURE'

    Sen Rick Scott ripped into Kamala Harris for refusing to visit the border.

    "Months after being chosen to lead the Biden administration's response to the border crisis it created, Vice President Harris has shown she'll do anything to avoid taking responsibility and showing real leadership," he said.

    "Her continued refusal to address the border crisis – which threatens the safety of American families – is disgraceful and an insult to our brave Customs and Border Protection agents.

    "Buy-in from Guatemala and Mexico is critical to getting this crisis under control, but first, [President Joe] Biden and Harris must acknowledge the humanitarian and national security chaos their policies have created here in America and see it firsthand at our border.

    "Anything less is an unacceptable failure."

    FOR GOD'S PSAK

    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki struggled to defend Kamala Harris' controversial comments about visiting the border.

    After Harris described such a trip as an unnecessary "grand gesture" – and then backtracking that they would visit "at some point" – Psaki did damage control at a press briefing this afternoon.

    "What the vice president was quite simply conveying was that there's more work to be done," Biden's communications aide said.

    "[And] that we don't have these systems in place, it's still a dangerous journey, as we've said many times from here and from many forums before

    "We need more time to get the work done to ensure that asylum processing is where it should be."

    COUGHING UP

    After the bilateral meeting between Kamala Harris and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, it emerged that the US would be financially tackling the border issues.

    Harris' Senior Advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders told Bloomberg that the United States promised Mexico $130million over three years.

    This will reportedly fund workers’ protections and implementing labor reform.

    • Fionnuala O'Leary

      HARRIS HOUNDED

      As Kamala Harris faces backlash over her border comments, Sen Tom Cotten of Arkansas made the light of the situation on Twitter.

      "Kamala Harris should do more interviews," he quipped.

    • Fionnuala O'Leary

      BORDER LIES

      Harris claimed she had been to the US-Mexico border during an NBC inteview this week.

      After claiming "we've been to the border," despite having not visited since she became VP, Harris became defensive.

      She told Lester Holt: "And I mean, I don’t – I don't understand the point that you're making. 'm not discounting the importance of the border." 

      "Listen, I care about what's happening at the border," Harris said. "[I'm] "in Guatemala because my focus is dealing with the root causes of migration." 

      "There may be some who think that that is not important, but it is my firm belief that if we care about what's happening at the border, we better care about the root causes and address them.

      "And so that's what I'm doing."

    • Fionnuala O'Leary

      'SIGNIFICANT ANNOUNCEMENTS'

      Before her talks with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador today, Kamala Harris also met with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei yesterday.

      Afterwards, she tweeted: "@DrGiammattei, the President of Guatemala, and I just met to discuss our nations’ shared priorities—in particular, addressing the root causes of migration.

      "After our meeting, we made several significant announcements about the work ahead."

      Harris then shared a link which listed the measures they were taking, which included the following:

      • Anticorruption Task Force
      • Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force 
      • U.S.-Guatemala Young Women’s Empowerment Initiative
      • Increase Economic Opportunity ($48 million total)

      QANON REP BACKS ANTI-KAMALA PROTEST

      Marjorie Taylor Greene today praised the Guatemalan protesters who decried Kamala Harris' visit and greeted her with pro-Trump signs.

      "Good for Guatemala! They don’t want her climate lies and socialism either. @VP hasn’t even been to our border," Greene raged. "Absolutely pathetic, completely embarrassing. #KamalaGoHome."

      GOP BACKLASH

      Kamala Harris' reluctance to visit the southern border has been slammed by Republicans.

      Rep Jim Jordan and Tex Cruz all weighed in on Twitter after Harris said she would not be taking a trip there.

      "Vice President Harris is in Mexico today. Probably the closest she’s ever been to the southern border. But she still won’t visit it," Jordan raged.

      "How about @VP acknowledges the dangerous crisis she & @POTUS created at the border?" added Sen Rick Scott of Florida. "Do your job. Immigration reform must begin with SECURING THE BORDER."

      Rep Jason Smith of Missouri added: "It’s as if the @VP just wants the title but none of the actual work."

      When someone tweeted that it had been 75 days since Harris had been named Biden's border czar, Cruz wrote: "Yup."

      WHY ARE MIGRANTS FLOODING THE US?

      Kamala Harris told illegal immigrants not to come to the US this week and said she hoped “to help Guatemalans find hope at home."

      But why are they leaving?

      There extreme violence and crime in Guatemala and Mexico often force people to flee their home country, noted one iNews columnist, which is triggered by a lucrative drug dealing industry and the cartels.

      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        WHAT DID HARRIS SAY ABOUT THE BORDER?

        In an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt set to air on Tuesday night, Harris defended the fact that she had yet to visit the border.

        She said: “We are going to the border. We have to deal with what’s happening at the border, there’s no question about that. That’s not a debatable point.

        "But we have to understand that there’s a reason people are arriving at our border and ask what is that reason and then identify the problem so we can fix it.”

        “At some point, you know, we are going to the border. We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border — we’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.”

        Holt noted that Harris hasn't actually been to the border since taking office.

        “And I haven’t been to Europe. And, I mean — I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”

      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        'NO QUICK FIX'

        Kamala Harris acknowledged that addressing the border crisis will not be easy.

        Joe Biden's border czar told NBC News’ Lester Holt in an interview set to air tonight that "there is “not going to be a quick fix."

        "We are not going to see an immediate return. But we’re going to see progress,” Harris said. “The real work is going to take time to manifest itself. Will it be worth it? Yes. Will it take some time? Yes.”

        The footage came after she told migrants thinking of coming to the US they would be "turned back" if they entered illegally, adding, "do not come."

      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        WHAT TO EXPECT FROM US-MEXICO MEETING

        On Tuesday, Harris gave a synopsis of what she hoped to take away from her conversation with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and other Mexican officials today.

        “That is the basis of the conversation that I will have with him is with that spirit, that we have to be partners, that we are neighbors, closest neighbors in the region," she said.

        After arriving in Guatemala, she told reporters on Monday: "There is the issue of what we need to do around addressing as neighbors and as partners what Mexico's role can be as it relates to this region, to Guatemala, to the surrounding countries.

        “I am here because the root causes are my highest priority in terms of addressing the issue and we need to deal with it, both in terms of the poverty we are seeing, the hunger that we are seeing, the effects of the hurricanes, and extreme climate condition."

      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        'NEW ERA'

        Kamala Harris said the US and Mexico are "embarking on a new era" in her brief remarks to pool reporters today before their work meeting.

         “I have most enjoy being able to see you and talk with you in person," she told Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, noting that she enjoyed their previous conversations.

        “As you have said, the United States and Mexico have a longstanding relationship based on family."

        During their discussions today. López Obrador did not wear a mask when he greeted Harris or sat around the table but others did don a face covering.

      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        STRONGER TOGETHER

        The Department of State released a statement as Kamala Harris meets with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Secretary Marcelo Ebrard C. and other officials this afternoon.

        The department noted this would be work out how "to address priority issues for both governments, including migration issues."

        "We are Stronger Together. #MásFuertesJuntos," it concluded.

        Likewise, the US Embassy in Mexico noted the sit-downs were "para abordar temas prioritarios para ambos gobiernos incluyendo migración. Porque somos #MásFuertesJuntos."

        This roughly translates as "to address priority issues for both governments including migration because [we are stronger together]."

      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        WHO IS ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR?

        Andrés Manuel López Obrador (aka AMLO) is the current president of Mexico since 1 December 2018.

        He is described by Britannica as a "center-left populist Mexican politician."

        In relation to his presidency, it states: "Once López Obrador was in office, there is little doubt that he attempted to cater to the interests of the country’s poorest citizens, the key constituents of his political base, with whom he remained immensely popular.

        "His government instituted direct payments to tens of millions of Mexicans living below the poverty level, raised the minimum wage, and enacted labor reform, all in an attempt to level a playing field long tilted toward the wealthy and powerful.

        "However, he proved to be more of a populist than a progressive, to the increasing disappointment of many of the younger voters who had played such a large role in his election."

        Mexico was ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, which Obrador downplayed, before contracting the virus himself.

      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        WORK COMMENCES

        Pictures revealed the roundtable meeting between the US and Mexico this afternoon.

        Kamala Harris could be seen listening as she sat across from Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

        The table was decorated with Mexican and American flags to signify the cooperation between both countries during the border crisis.

        Harris (left) looks on as the Mexican president speaksCredit: Associated Press
        Harris and Lopez Obrador arrive for a bilateral meeting Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at the National Palace in Mexico CityCredit: Associated Press
      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        UNMASKED MEETING

        Kamala Harris wore a mask while she signed the memorandum but Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador did not.

        “The two stood off to the side as signatories signed the memorandum. The VP was wearing a mask and AMLO was not," a pool reporter noted.

        Shortly after 11am local time, Harris' "work meeting" with López Obrador commenced, according to Mexican TV station Milenio Televisión.

      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        VP HYPOCRISY

        Kamala Harris was slammed by the Republican National Committee over her border comments.

        Sharing footage from 2018 and 2021, the RNC wrote: "Kamala Harris said yesterday that visiting the border would be a “grand gesture."

        "Harris visited the border in 2018 when Trump was president…"

      • Fionnuala O'Leary

        'CACKLIN' KAMALA' RAPPED BY REP

        Republican Lauren Boebert brought a cardboard cutout of Kamala Harris to the US-Mexico border today.

        The gun-toting rep took to Twitter to troll the vice president after she said going to the border would just be a "grand gesture" during her visit to Guatemala and Mexico.

        "What’s up at the Southern Border?" Boebert wrote. "Not the WALL! Since the current regime doesn’t care, I’m going to keep fighting until we fix this border issue.

        "Donate to my campaign today so I can keep the pressure on Cacklin’ Kamala & her puppet, Joe!"

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