In the run-up to the 2020 election, campaign material from then-presidential candidate Joe Biden called immigration to the United States “a compelling source of our strength.”
But when Yessenia Gutierrez, who was raised in Florida by Guatemalan parents, heard recent comments from Vice President Kamala Harris telling Guatemalans not to come to the United States, she was not at all surprised.
“It is the continuation of what [politicians have] always done, âGutierrez said. âThey can say one thing, but do another. “
Migration from Central America to the United States has been steadily increasing since 1990, with factors such as climate change, organized crime and economic insecurity pushing people north, according to the think tank The Inter-American Dialogue. Thirty-six thousand of Pennsylvania’s current residents were born in Central America, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Under the administration of former President Donald Trump, many people fleeing these conditions have been trapped in dangerous refugee camps outside the US border, separated from their children and vilified in public discourse. Biden campaigned to reverse these policies and update the U.S. immigration system. While recent White House attention has focused on stopping border migration, local Central American immigrants and activist groups are pushing to change laws in the United States.
In Guatemala in early June, Harris spoke about plans to set up an anti-corruption task force, invest $ 40 million to boost education and economic opportunities for indigenous women, and give the country 500,000 doses. COVID-19 vaccine.
Gutierrez, who is a member of the Pennsylvania Immigrant Leaders Movement (MILPA), has heard all his life about the root causes of migration being poverty, crime and corruption. That’s why she’s skeptical of the Biden administration’s ability to address these long-standing issues.
“We cannot trust these politicians to eradicate poverty in the United States, in their own country, let alone in a region where the United States has politically and economically destabilized politics for decades,” he said. she declared.
Past attempts to provide aid to reduce poverty and slow migration – such as a program to build an outhouse for potato farmers – have not been effective, the New York Times reported.