After Biden announced last week that he was putting Harris in charge of overseeing the “challenge” at the border, Harris’s senior adviser and chief spokeswoman Symone Sanders clarified the matter, saying the vice president is strictly dealing with the root causes of migration.
Sanders said Harris will reach out to leaders in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to find out what is causing the migrants to come to the United States.
A report published by Breitbart on Friday described a conversation Harris has had with the president of Guatemala. Breitart writes:
Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei urged U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris this week to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to illegal Guatemalan nationals already in America, allowing them to reside legally, work lawfully, and even travel.
TPS eligible migrants may travel back to their home country. However, the U.S. federal government designates that a foreign nation be eligible for the status when its nationals cannot return safely.
Giammattei’s request for TPS came Tuesday, during a phone conversation with VP Harris, tapped by U.S. President Joe Biden to lead the White House response to the migrant surge that is overwhelming America’s southern border.
Breitbart notes that a White House readout of the phone conversation does not mention Giammattei’s request for TPS, but it is mentioned in a statement he issued about the conversation on the same day.
The White House report said Harris and Giammattei agreed to ‘work together on climate change and other issues to deal with the root causes of migration to the United States.’
— Gobierno Guatemala (@GuatemalaGob) March 30, 2021
WHY would Guatemala’s president be pushing for TPS status for his people in the United States? DMLNewsApp decided to check out the stats on remittances sent back home from Guatemalans working in the U.S. Here’s what we found:
A report by Focus Economics in November on remittances to Guatemala from the United States states, “Remittances are a key source of income for Guatemalan families and tend to follow employment trends in the United States, where the majority of remittance payments originate from.”
According to the report, remittances from the United States totaled $1.133 billion in October 2020, a 13.3% year-on-year jump.
Another report in August 2020 by ElFaro.net confirms that remittances from people working in the U.S. and sending money back to Guatemala have seen a huge spike, reaching over $1 BIL per month:
Remittances to Guatemala approached US$1 billion per month three times in 2019, but even during periods of economic growth and peak employment in the United States, the rate has never been as high as it was this July. Now, in the midst of one of the worst global health crises in decades and as the U.S. unemployment rate reaches new heights, Guatemalans living abroad have nonetheless managed to send home a record $1.078 billion dollars in just 31 days.
The August 2020 ElFaro.net report further adds:
Another consequence: if the U.S. economy continues to recover, we will see an increase in migration among young Guatemalans who have lost their jobs. How will U.S. authorities respond? Will we see a tightening of immigration and border restrictions in the two months leading up to the presidential election? In the coming months, the social dynamics relating to migration and the flow of remittances will take center stage. This will present a perfect opportunity to propose a development model that visibilizes Guatemalan immigrants and their families. This is necessary for Guatemala.
Meanwhile, all sectors of Guatemalan society should express a billion thank yous to all those Guatemalans living abroad who in recent months have injected billions of dollars into the economy, making the crisis more bearable and preventing misery from knocking on the doors of thousands and thousands of Guatemalan homes. This model may not be sustainable, but as long as it continues to leverage the recovery, we should support it in any way we can.
According to data released by the U.S. Border patrol, 11,336 single adults from Guatemala were apprehended crossing the border illegally into the U.S. in February alone, with a total of 46,902 since Oct. 1.
From Oct. 1 through Feb. 28, including families and children, over 64,000 Guatemalans were apprehended crossing the border illegally into the U.S.
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