Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei blamed President Joe Biden for the border crisis, saying that the change from Trump’s administration emboldened the human traffickers on the border, known as “coyotes.” He also called on Vice President Kamala Harris to introduce legislation to make being a coyote a federal crime.
Giammattei said the change in government led to a change in message. “The message changed to ‘We are going to reunite families and we are going to reunite children,” the foreign leader told CBS News. “The very next day the coyotes here were organizing groups of children to take them to the United States.”
“We asked the United States government to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving,” Giammattei added.
Giammattei said that he and Harris, who traveled to Guatemala on Monday, “are not on the same side of the coin. It is obvious.”
“We are in agreement on the ‘what’” of the border crisis, “which is something. We are not in agreement on the ‘how.’”
In a Zoom meeting before Harris’s trip to Guatemala, Giammattei said he pressed the vice president to change U.S. law to criminalize human trafficking across the border.
“We asked her to introduce a bill in the U.S. Senate that would make human smuggling and acting as a coyote a federal crime,” he said. “Here the penalty for being a coyote is 5 or 6 years in prison. [There, in the United States,] it’s a joke.”
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents have arrested 95 convicted sex offenders since October 1, 2020, a whopping 3,166 percent increase over the same timeframe last fiscal year. Biden canceled Operation Talon, a Trump administration initiative that deported illegal immigrants who had been convicted of sex crimes.
Border crossings hit record levels in April, when immigration officials detained almost 179,000 people, the highest level since the 2000s. In addition to those detained border crossers, officials have recorded at least 40,000 unlawful border crossers who got away.
Biden rushed to reverse the Trump policies that had gotten the border crisis under control. Not only did the president order an end to border wall construction, but he also ended the “Remain in Mexico” policy that required asylum seekers to remain in Mexico until their cases had been adjudicated. Biden also unilaterally dropped Trump’s “safe third country” deals with Latin American countries like Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador that enabled the U.S. to direct asylum seekers to settle in countries that were safe for them, rather than allowing them into the U.S.
Biden’s campaign rhetoric — promising a deportation moratorium (that got blocked by court order) and health care for illegal aliens, among other things — arguably encouraged migrants to rush to America. Immigrants have come to the border wearing shirts that read, “Biden please let us in!”
During Harris’ visit to Guatemala, protesters held up signs reading, “Kamala, Trump Won,” “Kamala, Mind Your Own Business,” and “Kamala, Go Home.” One particularly damning sign included a doctored photo of a pregnant Harris, reading, “Guatemala is pro-life #MomalaHelpMe.”
Harris does not have any biological children. She has two step-children through her husband, Doug Emhoff.