The United States says it needs “more time” to address influx of immigrants into the southern border.
On Tuesday, the White House defended earlier comments by Vice President Kamala Harris that migrants traveling from Central America to the United States should not come.
“What the vice president was simply conveying was that there’s more to be done, that we don’t have these systems in place yet, it’s still a dangerous journey as we’ve said many times from here and from many forums before," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. "And we need more time to get the work done to ensure that asylum processing is where it should be."
Harris’s comments during her visit to Guatemala has drown backlash from Republicans, which Psaki dismissed.
“I would 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 walked into both at the border and with the movement of migration that has been growing over the last year,” the White House press secretary said.
She also responded to the GOP talking point that Harris must visit the border, where immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers are trying to enter the country.
“So, we’re not taking our guidance and advice from them," PsaKI said. "but if it is constructive and it moves the ball forward for her to visit the border, she certainly may do that."
Harris’s call on immigrants has also drawn criticism from some Democratic figures, most notably New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
AOC called Haris stance “disappointing to see,” asserting that, “Seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival.”
“Second, the US 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,” she added. “Doing so can help us change US foreign policy, trade policy, climate policy, & carceral border policy to address causes of mass displacement & migration.”
The Biden administration has been trying to undo former President Donald Trump’s border policies.
“One of our focuses and a priority of the president and vice president is to improve asylum processing at the border, to work with a range of Democrats and hopefully Republicans, because in history it’s been a bipartisan effort, to get immigration reform passed, to ensure there’s a more viable pathway to citizenship and a better processing at the border,” Psaki said.
US imperialist policies have been touted as the main cause for Central Americans’ struggle for decades, which has led to influx of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers mostly escaping violence in their home countries.