Vice President Harris will meet virtually with the president of Guatemala on Monday and travel to the Northern Triangle in June, a White House official confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday.
Harris will hold a virtual bilateral meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, and she will join a virtual roundtable Tuesday with representatives from Guatemalan community-based organizations, the official said. The roundtable will focus on how to best address root causes of migration.
The discussions will precede Harris’s first visit to the Northern Triangle region, which encompasses Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Officials said the vice president would make the trip in June but offered no further details.
“The Vice President last spoke with President Giammattei on March 30th. In that conversation, they agreed to collaborate on promoting economic development, leveraging technology, strengthening climate resilience, and creating the conditions to expand opportunity for people in their home countries in order to address the root causes of migration to the United States,” the official said.
Harris has faced pressure from Republicans to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border or Central America since President BidenJoe BidenBiden overruled Blinken, top officials on initial refugee cap decision: report Suicide bombing hits Afghan security forces Jim Jordan, Val Demings get in shouting match about police during hearing MORE announced she would be leading the administration’s efforts to stem the tide of migrants surging toward the border.
The White House later clarified that her focus would specifically be on the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras rather than the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Biden administration has for weeks been grappling with an influx of migrants at the southern border, many of them unaccompanied children or teenagers. Customs and Border Protection apprehended more than 170,000 people at the U.S.-Mexico border in the month of March, the highest number is at least 15 years.
Republicans have attacked the Biden administration over immigration repeatedly, arguing that the president’s rollback of hard-line Trump administration policies has contributed to the surge.
Harris held a virtual roundtable last week with experts on the Northern Triangle, where she made clear she did not expect to see immediate change in migration patterns from the region and that it would take a long-term commitment to the issue to get results.