- The Washington Times - Monday, April 19, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris said Monday that she’s making “progress” on trying to solve the surge of migrants headed north from Central America, but that solutions won’t happen “overnight.”

Ms. Harris also reaffirmed her portfolio is only the diplomatic efforts with the three key countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, putting distance between herself and the current chaos of the U.S.-Mexico border, where children languish in custody, migrant deaths are rising and local communities are begging for help.

Ms. Harris said the progress she’s talking about includes the Commerce Department hosting an upcoming “virtual trade mission” with the countries, and the Agriculture Department planning more support for the countries’ farming sector.

And she said she’ll be coordinating a conversation among “foundation leaders” in the U.S. to encourage them to help develop civil society in the three countries.

“So, we are making progress but let’s just be very clear that this is a complicated, complex issue that actually has been an issue for a long time, and the work that we are putting into it now is work that is going to require a long standing commitment beyond administrations,” she said. “It is work that is not going to evidence its impact overnight because the issues are so intractable.”

She said her own role has been “bringing together as I did the members of the cabinet.”

The Biden administration blames the current record numbers of unaccompanied children and the rising numbers of other migrants jumping the U.S. border on rough conditions in Central America.

Experts say those factors matter, but say the reason for the acute surge right now is President Biden’s changes to Trump immigration policies, erasing some get-tough measures and seeing cooperation with Mexico slip, leading would-be migrants to believe they have a better chance of succeeding if they come now.

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