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California Latino lawmakers berate Harris for saying ‘don’t come’

Vice President Kamala Harris at a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei. | AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin

OAKLAND – Latino lawmakers in Vice President Kamala Harris’ home state on Wednesday criticized him for seeking to discourage migration.

The vice president triggered a backlash to the left this week for blatantly saying “don’t come” to Central American migrants considering entering the United States through Mexico. While Harris’ comment was consistent with the Biden administration’s position, critics, including House Democrats, said the vice president was discouraging legal migration.

The California Latino Legislative Caucus echoed these criticisms in a response to Harris, saying in a statement that “seeking asylum in the United States is not only legal but a matter of life and death for many.”

“In line with precedents, we must not discourage asylum seekers from seeking a better life. They are doing what they must do to survive, “caucus leaders said in a statement.” As such, we urge the Biden-Harris administration and Congress to follow the moral and legal imperative to create a a process for all asylum seekers to come to this country as part of a larger and long overdue comprehensive reform of our immigration system. “

The Latino caucus has become a force in California politics as the state’s Latino electorate has grown steadily over the past decades. The state legislature includes many lawmakers who are the children of immigrants or emigrated to the United States earlier in life.

Responses to Harris’ first trip overseas as vice president underscored the political intransigence of the migration issue. Even though Democrats and their allies accused Harris of taking too hard a stance, Republicans berated Harris for downplaying the importance of visiting America’s southern border – something she did not do since entering the White House – and argued that the Biden administration’s more lenient immigration policies have encouraged more migration, underscoring comments from Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei.

Harris pointed out during his trip that migration stems from a complex mix of factors that includes weak civic institutions and a lack of economic opportunities in Central America.

There will be “no quick fixes,” she told NBC’s Lester Holt, adding “we have to understand that there is a reason people come to our border and ask what that reason is. , then identify the problem so that we can fix it. “

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