First on Fox: Former Vice-President Mike Pence, on a trip to Guatemala Wednesday, has stressed that the U.S. alone cannot end its migrant crisis and needs the help of the very nations from which the migrants travel.
“When I visited Guatemala in 2018, I said, ‘This crisis cannot be solved by America alone,’” Pence said during a speech to the Guatemala Prospera Conference in Guatemala City. “I pointed out that weak economies, corruption, drugs, and violence are the root causes of this crisis.”
“So today, I ask for your renewed help and cooperation: Keep telling your fellow citizens that coming to the United States illegally will only result in a hard journey and a harder life. Keep cracking down on corruption, criminal groups and gang violence,” he added. “Strengthen your borders and your frontier police, and tear down the barriers to opportunities and jobs.”
During his first visit to Guatemala, he promised to work toward a stronger relationship between the two countries, even as the migrant crisis weighed upon the U.S. southern border.
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Four years later, Pence applauded the progress made by the Trump administration and largely laid blame for a resurgent migrant crisis – which has seen historic numbers of migrants try to enter the U.S. – at the feet of the Biden administration.
“Though it pains me to say so, I must admit that most of the blame for the migration crisis lies with the current administration of the United States, which has essentially adopted a policy of open borders,” Pence said.
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“On his very first day in office, our president suspended many of the successful border policies of our administration – policies that reduced illegal immigration 90%: They suspended deportations nationwide, shut down construction on the border wall, canceled the Remain in Mexico policy and proposed amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States,” he continued. “Tragically, those actions sent a message to millions of migrants in Central and South America, and illegal migration skyrocketed overnight.”
The U.S. and Guatemala have built a strong trade relationship over the past decade, increasing exports and imports by billions: U.S. exports to Guatemala in 2018 totaled around $6.6 billion and rose to over $8 billion in 2022.
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But the migrant crisis casts a shadow over that otherwise strengthened relationship. Pence admitted that criminal cartels play a significant role in exacerbating the crisis.
“I can and do hold the criminal cartels responsible for exacerbating the migration crisis, for spreading death and destruction, and for profiting off of human misery,” Pence said.
“I am more convinced than ever that the key to a brighter future for Guatemala lies with ending human smuggling,” he added. “If we end the human smuggling trade, we will financially destroy the transnational criminal organizations that profit from it.”