With her exclamation “Do not come!” on her trip to Mexico and Guatemala Kamala Harris irritates parts of her Democratic Party. Her words apply less to the migrants than to the conservative voters at home.
American foreign policy is always about American domestic policy. That applies to Joe Biden’s first trip abroad to Europe on Wednesday. This is especially true for the first trip abroad of his Vice President. Kamala Harris is currently traveling in Mexico and Guatemala. And the main theme of your visit to both countries south of the United States is the ongoing illegal migration to the United States.
On Monday, Kamala Harris spoke the following three clear words at a press conference in Guatemala City, which have been discussed since: “Do not come!” Harris directs this message to potential migrants on the one hand. Gaining entry to the United States illegally is not only an extremely dangerous route, but ultimately a hopeless one, she said. Because people would have to expect to be deported immediately to their respective country of origin.
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A signal to voters
The clarity of your words should be directed primarily as a signal to your own population. Look here, I speak plain text! It’s not just Donald Trump and the Republicans who oppose illegal migration. We Democrats also secure our borders. Joe Biden recently entrusted Kamala Harris with finding solutions to the migration crisis in the south of the country. “I’m giving you a difficult job,” Biden had said. Since then it has been clear that it will be the test for the Vice President, as well as her ambitions for the office of President.
It will be a balancing act for Kamala Harris, who is often seen in the public perception as the identification of a diversified Biden government that is currently keeping an eye on the interests of minorities. The Vice President does not belong to the left-wing Democratic camp. In her party, the former attorney general for the state of California is considered a thoroughly conservative “law-and-order” woman.
“Biden’s Border Crisis”
When it comes to illegal immigration, the Harris Biden government has the Republicans, and especially the voters, on its back. “Biden’s border crisis” has been talked about every day, especially in the conservative media, since he took office. Ex-President Trump also repeatedly points out his wall and the fact that Biden has given up control of the country’s borders. Right at the beginning of Harris’ trip abroad to Mexico, Republicans criticized that the Vice President would not visit the border. She immediately defended herself by saying that instead of “grand gestures” she would rather contribute to the solution of the problem with “concrete work”.
Your “Do not come!” Call was such a gesture and it will hardly be enough to silence the Republican camp or to keep people from leaving. Even with the many millions of US dollars in aid she promised in April, it remains to be seen whether these will really be able to reduce the migration pressure of people from Central and South America.
Supreme Court ruled hard
Migration policy was not the dominant topic in the presidential elections in 2020. But in 2016 it was important, also because Donald Trump was able to make it one. There is little fear that the Biden government currently fears as much as it will lose its narrow majority in the Senate and House of Representatives in the midterm elections to the Republicans, who would then be able to block many laws. It is quite possible that Biden and Harris will therefore take a tough course with the migration. Also so as not to scare away the Republicans from voting voters.
It wouldn’t be the first time a Democrat-led government has used more rigorous deportations as a means. Ex-President Barack Obama already tightened the policy of his predecessor in the office of George W. Bush in this regard.
In any case, the clear “Do not come!” Announcement by Harris in Guatemala on Monday coincided with another clear decision by the US Supreme Court. With a vote of 9 to 0 by the judges, the verdict was that a total of 400,000 immigrants who entered illegally and who had previously been able to live in the United States for humanitarian reasons are not entitled to permanent residence in the United States.