Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Vice President Kamala Harris for declaring that illegal immigrants should not come to the U.S. border.
On Monday, Harris visited Guatemala on her first international trip as vice president.
During the press conference with Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei, the vice president talked about human trafficking and corruption in Central America; Harris then stated that her aim is to give the people of Guatemala “hope at home.”
However, she also made a clear and blunt message to undocumented migrants, saying they will not find solace at the border under the Biden administration.
Harris said that she wants to be clear, for those who are thinking about crossing the border to go to the United States: “DO NOT COME.”
This sparked criticism from select Democrats, particularly those who are on the far left.
Ocasio-Cortez to Harris: Seeking asylum is 100% legal
On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez criticized the vice president. She wrote on Twitter saying that Harris’ statements were “disappointing to see.”
This is disappointing to see.
First, 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. https://t.co/vADyh5H0bw
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 7, 2021
The New York congresswoman said that seeking asylum at any U.S. border is “100% legal”. AOC also added that America had spent decades advocating regime change and destabilization in Latin American nations. AOC added that Americans could not set someone home ablaze and then fault them for bolting.
Human rights groups: “Seeking asylum is a legal right”
A Latin America advocate at the non-profit Refugees International, Rachel Schmidtke, said they are continuously urging the Biden administration to build policies for Guatemalans seeking protection.
Schmidtke added that the reasons for “forced displacement” should be addressed, and the U.S. should realign its message to the people in Guatemala.
.@VP Kamala Harris, seeking asylum is legal. Turning back asylum seekers is illegal, dangerous, & oftentimes sends them back to their deaths. Seeking asylum is a right under US and international law. #WelcomeWithDignity https://t.co/3UcJyALhlW
— Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) (@asylumadvocacy) June 7, 2021
Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project also voiced out their concern in a tweet telling Harris that “seeking asylum is legal.”
However, turning back asylum seekers is not. The tweet also added that it is dangerous to move, yet turning them away is almost sending them “back to their deaths.” They also added that under U.S. laws and international law, seeking asylum is a right.
Harris faced questions about not visiting the border
During her visit to Mexico, Harris also faced series of questions relating to her failure to visit the U.S. – Mexico border. However, the vice president emphasized that her focus is to address the “root causes” that drive migrants to flee their homes.
In an interview with NBC, Harris said that she traveled to Guatemala because her main goal is to address the “root causes” of migration.
Harris further defended her trip, saying that some people believe that it is not important. Nevertheless, the vice president said she believes if they care about what is going on at the border, they should care about the “root causes.”