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Kamala Harris discusses migrant surge with Mexican president

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MEXICO CITY: US Vice President Kamala Harris held talks with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday during a visit to the region aimed at tackling the “root causes” of a surge in migrant arrivals.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between their countries on cooperation in aid and development in Central America.

“We’re going to talk about the issue of migration, but dealing with the causes,” Lopez Obrador told reporters before they entered their closed-door meeting at the National Palace.

Harris, on her first trip abroad as President Joe Biden’s deputy, has said she wants to give Central Americans “a sense of hope” that their lives will improve in their countries.

Detentions of undocumented migrants, including unaccompanied minors, along the US-Mexico border hit a 15-year high in April, with nearly 180,000 people intercepted, according to the US authorities.

“There’s not going to be a quick fix,” Harris said in an interview with NBC News broadcast on Tuesday.

“We’re not going to see an immediate return. But we’re going to see progress,” she said, speaking in Guatemala the previous day during the first leg on her two country tour.

Asked why she had not visited the US-Mexican border personally since taking office, Harris said her focus was on dealing with the reasons behind the migrant flows.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2021

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