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Breaking Down The Controversy And History Of Central American Migration To The US




US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Ambassador to Guatemala William Popp participate in a women's intergenerational innovators and entrepreneurs event in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021.
US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Ambassador to Guatemala William Popp participate in a women's intergenerational innovators and entrepreneurs event in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021.
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

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Last week, following a meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a news conference where she sent a message to those who wish to cross the border from Mexico to the United States: “Do not come.”

This comes after president Biden had sent an immigration bill to Congress that had mentioned its willingness to address the “root causes of migration.” With these two comments having competing interests in the eyes of many critics, it did call into question how the Biden administration plans to approach its relationships with Latin American countries, particularly Central American ones such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Today on AirTalk, we break down the relationship Central American countries have had with the United States in the past and why this has affected immigration throughout the region.

With guest host Sharon McNary

Guests:

Suyapa Portillo, associate professor of Chicano/a-Latino/a Transnational Studies at Pitzer College;  author of the book "Roots of Resistance: A Story of Gender, Race, and Labor on the North Coast of Honduras” (University of Texas Press, 2021); she tweets @SuyapaPV

James Fredrick, freelance journalist and contributor to NPR based in Mexico City; currently co-writing a book with a Honduran asylum seeker about his family's migration stories; he tweets @jameslfredrick