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'Don't come to US', Vice President Kamala Harris tells potential migrants
8 June 2021, 07:07 | Updated: 8 June 2021, 10:00
Vice President Kamala Harris has told potential Guatemalan migrants not to come to the United States illegally.
Speaking while visiting the Central American country for her first overseas trip since taking office, Ms Harris warned would-be migrants of the dangers of making the journey north to the US.
At first, the vice president appeared to offer an optimistic outlook for improved cooperation between Washington and Guatemala City, the nation's capital.
Addressing the uptick in migration to the US, Ms Harris said she wanted to "help Guatemalans find hope at home".
However, she added: "At the same time, I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border - Do not come, do not come.
"The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our borders."
The VP warned that people who try entering the US illegally would be turned back at the border, adding that the potentially perilous trip north mainly benefits people smugglers.
She also promised a new program focused on creating education and economic opportunities for girls there, among other new initiatives.
President Joe Biden had previously tasked Ms Harris with reducing the surge in migration at the US-Mexico border.
During her three-day trip south, the vice president will take part in substantive talks with the Guatemalan and Mexican presidents.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced that the Justice Department will create an anti-corruption task force and another to combat human trafficking and drug smuggling in the region.