Biden administration to announce new efforts to fight smuggling, trafficking

Biden administration to announce new efforts to fight smuggling, trafficking
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The Biden administration will announce on Monday new actions to combat smuggling and trafficking as Vice President Harris embarks on her trip to Latin America to look into ways of addressing the root causes of regional migration, an administration official told reporters.

“In addition to the comprehensive approach to addressing the many causes, it’s also a comprehensive approach in terms of building out partnerships … One of the things the vice president has done is she met with CEOs and issued a ‘call to action’ two weeks ago now," the senior administration official told reporters traveling with Harris as her plane landed in Guatemala on Sunday.

The official added she has a “broader vision” for addressing mass migration and that the United Nations will also be involved in that effort.

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There are currently no plans to announce additional aid allocation on Harris's trip, the official said.

“We want to focus on where we already have funding and support,” they said.

Harris will also be addressing corruption in the governments of countries from which people are fleeing, though officials declined to say how she planned to do so.

“What is more clear now that was even clear in 2014 is that governance is absolutely key to success on anything else we’re trying to do on development," the official added. "If you zero in on what is really making people leave, it’s that they don’t have a job, they don’t have an opportunity, they don’t have a future … a large part of that is directly related to how governments operate and what kind of services they’re able to deliver to their population."

However, officials clarified that Harris's work in Latin America will not be solely focused on anti-corruption efforts and will also look into irregular migration.

According to the official, Harris has a “good rapport” with the presidents of Guatemala and Mexico and cautioned against any notion of "tough talk."

“It is respectful, they respect her, she respects them. They are getting to know one another and have been building and working together,” the official said during the briefing. “It’s not like folks are going into a courtroom and they’re arguing opposite sides of a case. This is real diplomacy work and diplomacy requires candid, respectful conversation.”