Vice President Kamala Harris met with Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei at the White House to discuss immigration issues.

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Vice President Kamala Harris welcomed Guatemala’s President Bernardo Arevalo to the White House on Monday to bolster his newly established government and explore strategies for reducing migration from Central America.

Harris’s meeting highlights the United States’ commitment to supporting Guatemala’s reform-oriented leader, who faced delays in his inauguration earlier this year amid opposition attempts to undermine his authority.

Expressing solidarity, Harris affirmed that the U.S. “stands proudly alongside” President Arevalo, emphasizing the importance of upholding the principles of democracy and respecting the will of the Guatemalan people.

Migration has emerged as a contentious issue in President Joe Biden’s and Vice President Harris’s bid for re-election in 2024, with Republicans criticizing the administration’s handling of surges in immigration along the U.S. border.

Accusations have been exchanged, with the White House blaming Republicans, particularly former President Donald Trump, for obstructing bipartisan efforts to enact stricter border enforcement measures.

Given her role as the administration’s point person on migration issues, Harris discussed with President Arevalo avenues for U.S. support in Guatemala’s anti-corruption efforts, promotion of human rights, and economic development initiatives.

President Arevalo characterized the meeting as a pivotal moment in bilateral relations, highlighting shared values and mutual challenges faced by both nations.

Central to their discussions was Arevalo’s outreach to indigenous communities and the joint commitment to address the root causes of “irregular migration” to the United States.

In a significant announcement, Harris unveiled $1 billion in new financial commitments from companies participating in a public-private partnership program aimed at investing in Central America. This brings the total investment to over $5.2 billion since May 2021, with initiatives such as Meta’s pledge to provide training opportunities for youth and small business owners in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The dialogue between Harris and Arevalo underscores the importance of collaborative efforts to address migration challenges and promote stability and prosperity in the region.

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