Guatemalan president Alejandro Giammattei blamed President Joe Biden’s administration for the migrant crisis during an interview with CBS that aired Sunday.
According to Giammattei, Biden’s policy changes immediately led to human traffickers organizing groups of children in Guatemala to smuggle across the US-Mexico border.
“The message changed to ‘we’re going to reunite families and we’re going to reunite children. The very next day the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States,” Giammattei said.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz shared video of Giammattei’s remarks, tweeting, “Joe Biden is responsible for this border crisis. Even the President of Guatemala agrees. #BidenBorderCrisis.”
On Monday, Vice President and Border Czar Kamala Harris visited Guatemala and was greeted by protesters displaying signs that read “Trump won” and “Go home.”
“Kamala, Mind Your Own Business,” one sign read.
Another sign stated, “Guatemala is pro-life #momalahelpme,” and featured a photoshopped image of Kamala pregnant.
A third sign read, “Kamala Stop Funding Criminals #FueraDeGuatemala.”
President Giammattei echoed remarks made by the president of El Salvador in March, when he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that the Biden administration promising free healthcare and education acted as “incentives” for illegal immigrants.
“Of course, it’s an incentive,” President Nayib Bukele said when asked if taxpayer-funded programs in the United States were a draw for illegal immigrants. “Everything in life is pros and cons, right? So, for immigration, you have a con that probably you don’t know the language or the journey is a difficult one, you may die in the journey. But if in the end, they will receive a lot of things, of course, the pros go up and the cons go down. So it’s an incentive game here.”
Thousands of immigrant children have crossed into the United States illegally since President Biden took office in January, prompting the administration to request that non-border states house the undocumented minors.
Several state lawmakers rejected the administration’s request, including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds who said in April that the influx of unaccompanied minors was “the president’s problem.”
“This is not our problem,” Reynolds said, noting that Iowa does not have the temporary facilities needed by the Department of Housing and Human Services. “This is the president’s problem. He’s the one that has opened the border, and he needs to be responsible for this and he needs to stop it.”
Last week, the Biden administration officially ended the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy that forced asylum-seekers who illegally entered the United States to stay in Mexico until their cases can be hear by an American judge.
In a Department of Homeland Security memo originally obtained by the Associated Press, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed the Migrant Protection Protocols Program – the official name for “Remain in Mexico” policy – “does not adequately or sustainably enhance border management in such a way as to justify the program’s extensive operational burdens and other shortfalls.”