June 08, 2021

Kamala Harris urges Guatemalan migrants not to enter US illegally

Kamala Harris urges Guatemalan migrants not to enter US illegally

Speaking on her first overseas trip since taking office, the US vice president said the journey north was dangerous and would mainly benefit people smugglers. She said that people seeking to enter the US illegally would be turned back at the border. 

As reported by the BBC, Harris has been tasked by President Joe Biden with controlling a surge in migration at America’s southern border. Harris intends to seek solutions to tackle the root causes of the crisis, which include corruption and a lack of economic opportunities. 

In a news conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Harris said she wanted the US and Guatemala to “work together” to resolve the problem. 

She said that it was their role as leaders to “convince people that there is a reason to be hopeful about their future and the future of their children.” 

President Giammattei said he sees the fight against drug trafficking as a key part of tackling the issue. 

Pia Orrenius has explored the evidence surrounding enforcement and illegal migration for IZA World of Labor. She writes: “Immigration enforcement is necessary—the political and economic motivations for limiting illegal immigration are numerous. However, considering the high costs of implementing enforcement and the considerable human costs of dispensing it, enforcement measures should be carefully designed and regularly evaluated.” 

Orrenius goes on to say: “Efficient enforcement minimizes distortions, controls costs, limits detrimental impacts on families, shields legal migration and commerce, and mitigates unintended consequences. In many countries, comprehensive immigration reform that combines efforts to create legal pathways for migration with improvements in enforcement methods can ease pressure at the border and in the interior, while increasing the net economic benefits of immigration to the destination country.”

Find more IZA World of Labor content on the subject of migration.

Read Pia Orrenius’ article in full.