President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, according to former Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Ron Vitiello, are the “main cause of the turmoil” at the southern border, according to a segment on First on Monday.
Vitiello made the remark only one day before Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is scheduled to visit Guatemala.
Mayorkas will go to Guatemala on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he will “meet with colleagues in the government of Guatemala about shared objectives,” the DHS stated.
Mayorkas “will also meet with members of the DHS personnel stationed in the nation as well as important DHS partners,” according to the release.
When confronted with the “root causes” of a border crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of migrant encounters in recent months, the Biden administration has placed a strong emphasis on Central America and Northern Triangle countries like Guatemala, which are experiencing violence, climate change, and poverty.
After visiting Guatemala as part of a trip to the region nearly a month ago, Vice President Kamala Harris came under fire for not visiting the border as part of her role in leading diplomatic talks to address the “root causes” of the migrant crisis. Harris was criticized for not visiting the border as part of her role in leading diplomatic talks to address the “root causes” of the migrant crisis.
However, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, who partially blamed the Biden administration for supporting the surge, made her visit more difficult by criticizing her for failing to address those underlying issues and unveiling a series of countermeasures.
On Monday, Vitiello stated that “working with Guatemala, working with The Northern Triangle on governance and anti-corruption operations is all well and good,” but that “it will not halt the surge that is now happening on the border,” referring to the current influx of migrants. According to the president, “we have encouraged parents to send or bring their children to the border,” and “the underlying cause of the turmoil is a reversal of policy.”
Immigration measures instituted by his predecessor, including wall construction and the requirement that asylum applicants stay in Mexico rather than the United States while their cases are being processed, were rescinded during President Biden’s administration. The actions have resulted in a record influx of migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, putting a strain on the capacity of immigration detention facilities.