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Harris to visit Mexico and Guatemala 'soon'

Harris to visit Mexico and Guatemala 'soon'
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Vice President Harris said Wednesday she will travel soon to Mexico and Guatemala as part of her efforts to address migration from the Northern Triangle region of Central America to the U.S.

"Our focus is to deal with the root causes, and I’m looking forward to traveling, hopefully as my first trip to the Northern Triangle, stopping in Mexico and then going to Guatemala sometime soon," Harris told reporters during a virtual roundtable with experts on the region.

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The White House announced last month that Harris would be tasked with leading efforts to address the immigration surge at the southern border, but later clarified that her focus would be on the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras rather than the U.S.-Mexico border.

She reiterated that on Wednesday, saying she had no plans to visit the border and that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasGas shortages spread to more states Biden officials testify that white supremacists are greatest domestic security threat Pentagon removing Chinese tech giant from blacklist after court loss MORE was leading efforts there.

Harris also made clear she did not expect to see immediate change in migration patterns from the Northern Triangle, and that it would take a long-term commitment to the issue to get results. 

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"It will not be obvious overnight," she said. "The work we have to do is going to require a commitment that is continuous that we institutionalize with our partners, and that is the work that I am prepared to do, which is to begin that process of meaningful work knowing that we’re going to have to have a long-term strategy and it will take some time to see the benefits of that work."

Harris met Wednesday with experts from the Center for American Progress, Oxfam, the Migration Policy Institute, the Atlantic Council and the Latin America Working Group. The panel was expected to discuss root causes of migration, humanitarian assistance and economic development, among other topics.

The Biden administration has for weeks been grappling with an influx of migrants at the southern border, many of them unaccompanied children or teenagers. Customs and Border Protection apprehended more than 170,000 people at the U.S.-Mexico border in the month of March, the highest number is at least 15 years.

Republicans have attacked the Biden administration over immigration repeatedly, arguing the president's rollback of hard-line Trump administration policies has contributed to the surge.