Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will visit Guatemala next week, just as Vice President Kamala Harris continues to face criticism for her role in handling the migrant crisis at the southern border
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Mayorkas will travel to the Northern Triangle country on Tuesday and Wednesday and will "meet with counterparts in the Government of Guatemala regarding shared priorities.
Mayorkas "will also meet with in-country members of the DHS workforce and key DHS partners," the statement said.
Amid a border crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of migrant encounters in recent months, the Biden administration has placed significant emphasis on the "root causes" of the crisis like violence, climate change and poverty in Central America and Northern Triangle countries like Guatemala.
The trip comes nearly a month after Harris visited Guatemala as part of a trip to the region, in which she faced criticism for not having visited the border as part of her role in leading diplomatic talks to tackle the "root causes" of the migrant crisis.
While she emphasized those root causes and unveiled a number of measures to tackle them, her visit was complicated by Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, who partly blamed the Biden administration for encouraging the surge.
"The message changed too: ‘We’re going to reunite families, we’re going to reunite children,’" he told CBS News. "The very next day, the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States."
Harris later made a brief visit to El Paso Texas later in the month, although she faced further criticism for not having visited the hardest-hit areas like the Rio Grande Valley sector.
It has now been 100 days since Harris was appointed to her role by Biden, and Republicans marked the occasion by releasing a statement alleging Biden’s policies -- rather than root causes -- are to blame for the surge.
"Over the last 100 days, if Kamala Harris had wanted to address the root causes of the Biden border crisis, all she had to do was simply walk down the hall to the Oval Office," RNC Communications Director Danielle Alvarez said. "It is the Biden-Harris administration’s open border policies and failed leadership that have caused this crisis, and as a result, our communities are less safe, drugs are pouring into our country and criminal activity at our southern border runs rampant."