Saturday, June 19, 2021

May Flower: Mexican SNITIS

"Complaint accuses Mexican factories of labor abuses, testing new trade pact" by Thomas Kaplan New York Times May 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — The AFL-CIO and other groups filed a complaint with the Biden administration Monday over claims of labor violations at a group of auto parts factories in Mexico, a move that will pose an early test of the new North American trade deal and its labor protections.

The complaint focuses on the Tridonex auto parts factories in the city of Matamoros, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. The AFL-CIO said workers there have been harassed and fired over their efforts to organize with an independent union, SNITIS, in place of a company-controlled union. Susana Prieto Terrazas, a Mexican labor lawyer and SNITIS leader, was arrested and jailed last year in an episode that received significant attention.

The trade deal, the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, was negotiated by the Trump administration to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and took effect last summer. While it was negotiated by a Republican administration, the deal had significant input from congressional Democrats, who controlled the House and who insisted on tougher labor and environmental standards in order to vote in favor of the pact, which needed approval from Congress.

The trade pact required Mexico to make sweeping changes to its labor system, where sham collective bargaining agreements known as protection contracts, which are imposed without the involvement of employees and lock in low wages, have been prevalent.

The complaint is being brought under a novel “rapid response” mechanism in the trade deal that allows for complaints about labor violations to be brought against an individual factory and for penalties to be applied to that factory. The complaint was filed by the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, SNITIS, and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

“USMCA requires Mexico to end the reign of protection unions and their corrupt deals with employers,” Richard L. Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said in a statement, using the abbreviation for the trade deal. “The ongoing harassment of Susana Prieto and SNITIS members is a textbook violation of the labor laws Mexico has pledged to uphold.”

[There is something more going on than a $imple trade $pat, and what I suspect what we see here is a tool to be used against López Obrador because he isn't on board with the agenda. He's one of the handful of world leaders who are resisting he CVD hoax and fraud, which is why he comes under attack in $uch ways -- imho]

The trade deal seeks to improve labor conditions and pay for workers in Mexico, which proponents say would benefit US workers by deterring factory owners from moving their operations to Mexico from the United States in search of cheaper labor. Enforcement of the pact is one of the main trade challenges facing the Biden administration.

Tridonex is a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Cardone Industries, which is controlled by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management, the AFL-CIO said. In 2016, Cardone announced plans to move its brakes division to Mexico and lay off more than 1,300 workers in Philadelphia, according to news reports and public records.

[Hey, the vestiges of the NAU and you didn't even notice as it will soon rise like a phoenix from the ashes]

The complaint includes several accusations of labor violations, including that workers have not been able to elect their union leaders or ratify their collective bargaining agreement, and that more than 600 workers were fired by their employer in acts of retaliation. It also accuses the state of Tamaulipas of denying the right of workers to choose the union that represents them.

“There couldn’t be a clearer case,” said Mary Kay Henry, international president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents Cardone workers in Philadelphia.

In a statement, Cardone said it was “committed to leading labor practices, fostering constructive relationships with employees and fully respecting the universal principle of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.”

“We are committed to fully complying with all applicable labor laws and regulations with respect to our Tridonex facilities in Matamoros, Mexico,” the statement said.....

I was further told that if the United States decides there is sufficient evidence of workers’ rights being denied, it would then request that Mexico conduct a review of the allegations, and after that step, a panel could be established to investigate the matter so don't hold your breath.

Of course, it wouldn't be a problem had the previous NAFTA agreement under Clinton didn't encourage the factories to move there, but.....

"US asks Mexico to investigate labor issues at GM facility" by Thomas Kaplan New York Times, May 12, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it was asking Mexico to review whether labor violations had occurred at a General Motors facility in the country, a significant step using a new labor enforcement tool in the revised North American trade deal.

The administration is seeking the review under the novel “rapid response” mechanism in the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement and took effect last summer. Under the mechanism, penalties can be brought against a specific factory for violating workers’ rights of free association and collective bargaining.

The administration “received information appearing to indicate serious violations” of workers’ rights at the GM facility, in Silao in the central state of Guanajuato, in connection with a recent vote on their collective-bargaining agreement, the Office of the US Trade Representative said.

The vote was stopped last month amid accusations that the union at the facility had tampered with it, according to news reports. Mexico’s Labor Ministry said Tuesday that it had found “serious irregularities” in the vote and ordered that it be held again within 30 days.

[All right. 

First of all, whatever happened with the Amazon vote? 

Secondly, I'm sure none of this has to do with López Obrador's support of Biden's political opponent or anything.

Lastly, what's with the "novel mechanism" terminology when that is what the CVD fraud is about?

The cutesy insults from the elite pre$$ are in our faces and an inside joke to their masters that read it. 

Yeah, ha-ha]

The updated North American trade agreement required Mexico to revamp its labor system.....

[That's where the print copy ended and I'm started to get into a maddening snit reading this garbage so..... I guess it is a GM factory and likely part of wrecking the auto industry on their way to Great Re$et heaven]

That from a government that took power like a literal thief in the night -- soomething Mexico used to be famous for, but no more:

"Mexico votes on López Obrador’s ‘transformation’ at mid-term" by Christopher Sherman The Associated Press, June 6, 2021

MEXICO CITY — Mexicans went to the polls Sunday to elect the entire lower house of Congress, almost half the country’s governors, and most mayors in a vote that will determine whether President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party gets the legislative majority it needs to continue his “Fourth Transformation” of Mexico.

López Obrador's critics have depicted the elections as a chance to stop the still-popular president from concentrating more power and weakening checks and balances. The president says the opposition is dominated by conservatives who oppose his campaign against corruption and wasteful spending.

López Obrador has complained about courts and independent regulatory agencies that have blocked some of his tougher proposals to empower state-owned industries. Opponents fear that if he wins a majority, he may try to subjugate courts and regulatory agencies created during Mexico's decades-long transition to full democracy.

Mexico City housewife Dolores Martinez said she was pleased with López Obrador's anti-corruption fight, after decades of corrupt administrations.

“I like it a lot,” Martinez said as she waited to vote. “There has to be transparency,” but other voters said they were disappointed by López Obrador. 

[Okay, you can't miss the parallels with Trump as the AP takes the ax to him, and we even get a "Fourth Industrial Revolution"-type term when the obviously populist López Obrador, who has suffered two stolen elections so he knows all about vote fraud.]

As for much of the campaign, violence marked the days leading up to the vote. On Saturday, an employee of the state prosecutors’ office in Chiapas who was not authorized to be quoted said five people who were carrying voting material to polling places were ambushed and killed on a rural highway. Those killed appeared to be volunteers, not government employees. Three dozen candidates, mostly for local posts, have been killed to date, and on Friday a government electoral agency worker was shot to death in Tlaxcala state, near Mexico City.

Fifteen of the country's 32 state governorships are at stake, and all 500 seats in the lower house of Congress. Almost 20,000 local posts including mayors and town council seats are being decided in 30 states, and those have often been the most violence-scarred races. 

Experts say criminal gangs have sought to influence the elections, while the government ascribes most of the killings to other questions and said they weren't necessarily related to elections, but the country’s electoral authority said the elections will be among the most thoroughly monitored in history, with over 19,000 registered observers, and violence at polling places is relatively rare.

López Obrador has raised minimum wages and strengthened government aid programs like supplementary payments to the elderly, students, and training programs for youths. He has also created a quasi-military National Guard and given the army a huge role in building his pet projects, which include trains, an oil refinery, and airports, but he has not hewed to a traditional leftist line. He has maintained friendly if sometimes tension-fraught relations with the United States and willingly helped keep tens of thousands of Central American migrants from reaching the US border. He abhors government debt or waste.

[You can see why certain intere$ts have a problem with him because he is such a good man!]

Opponents depict him as intolerant of criticism and obsessed with a nostalgic 1960s vision of Mexico, when oil was king and state-owned companies dominated many sectors of the economy. Socially conservative and a professed Christian “in the broadest sense,” he has angered feminists with his policies, but has pleased many Mexicans by living austerely.

The elections represent the first mass public events since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country over a year ago, though case numbers have fallen and Mexico has vaccinated about a quarter of adults. The estimated 350,000 fatalities in the pandemic — about 230,000 of them test-confirmed — do not appear to have played a major role in the campaigns, but may weigh on voters’ minds.

I would say the political ground he staked out is a “pragmatic  status quo,” and look who was down there electioneering:

"Harris targets corruption, immigration on Latin America trip" by Alexandra Jaffe and Christopher Sherman The Associated Press, June 6, 2021

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — With Kamala Harris visiting Guatemala and Mexico on her first foreign trip as vice president, the Biden administration is expected to announce new measures to fight smuggling and trafficking, and hopes to announce additional anti-corruption efforts as well on Monday, a senior administration official said.

The official, who briefed reporters traveling with Harris on Sunday, spoke on condition of anonymity to preview announcements before they have been made public. No further details were provided.

Harris has been tasked by President Joe Biden with addressing the root causes of the spike in migration to the U.S.-Mexico border, and her aides say corruption will be a central focus of her meetings with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday and Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday.

“Corruption really does sap the the wealth of any country, and in Central America is at a scale where it is a large percentage of GDP across the region,” said special envoy Ricardo Zuniga. “We see corruption as one of the most important root causes to be dealt with,” Zuniga added.

[Don't think the $hamele$$ hypocri$y isn't noticed, but what you do is give them lip service and then go about your business]

The trip got off to a rocky start when Harris’ plane returned to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland about 30 minutes after takeoff because of what her spokesperson said was a problem with the landing gear. She departed on another plane and landed late Sunday in in Guatemala City, where she was met by Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo.

Harris is seeking to secure commitments from Guatemala and Mexico for greater cooperation on border security and economic investment, and aides say she will also discuss vaccine sharing during her meetings, but corruption in the region — a far more intractable challenge — will complicate her efforts. It’s already had a significant impact on her work in Central America. Harris has yet to engage substantively with the leaders of Honduras and El Salvador, who are both embroiled in corruption scandals.

[Honduras underwent a Clinton-coup about 10 years so I guess they have soured o9n the junta, and as for El Salvador is must be the creeping authoritarianism of Nayib Bukele because there’s a direct line between the stability of a functioning democracy and the number of immigrants who show up at our borders and he sees a future in Bitcoin and creating distance from the dollar and thumbing his nose at the United States, thus the charge of authoritarianism for the Marxi$t American regime.

Giammattei has faced criticism over corruption within his own government. Zuniga acknowledged that the U.S. government faces a challenge in working with him but argued Harris was in the country in part to have a direct conversation with the president about this and other issues. “The best way to deal with these cases where you have a very complex relationship in a country like Guatemala is to talk clearly and plainly as partners, as countries that have to get along” he said.

Harris has laid out an approach centered on creating better opportunities and living conditions in the region through humanitarian and economic aid. She announced plans to send $310 million to provide support for refugees and address food shortages, and recently secured commitments from a dozen companies and organizations to invest in the Northern Triangle countries to promote economic opportunity and job training.

Washington won some goodwill through its vaccine diplomacy this past week. Giammattei and López Obrador both received calls from Harris on Thursday telling them the U.S. would be sending 500,000 doses and 1 million doses, respectively, of COVID-19 vaccine.

[The genocidal kill shots are the new currency brought to you by ambassadors]

While in Guatemala, Harris also plans to meet community leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. In Mexico, she will speak with female entrepreneurs and hold a roundtable with labor workers.

She’s underscored the need to address corruption in public remarks and events. In a May meeting with a number of leading voices on Guatemala’s justice system, she noted her work as a prosecutor and said that “injustice is a root cause of migration. Part of giving people hope is having a very specific commitment to rooting out corruption in the region,” she said.

Harris has also raised the issue during virtual meetings with the leaders of both countries, and aides say she will do it again during meetings on her trip. During their past conversations, they have discussed areas of mutual interest — improving port security, combatting smuggling networks, going after corrupt actors — and the goal of this trip is to turn that talk into action, aides say.

While the vice president will make announcements concerning new efforts at cooperation and new programs, she’s not expected to announce any new aid during her trip.

While in Latin America, Harris will also have to navigate the politics of immigration. Congressional Republicans have criticized both Biden and Harris for deciding not to visit the border, and contend the administration is ignoring what they say is a crisis there. April was the second-busiest month on record for unaccompanied children encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border, following March’s all-time high. The Border Patrol’s total encounters in April were up 3% from March, marking the highest level since April 2000.

[They are, as is the pre$$ since it doesn't fit the narrative so they must advance the agenda by stealth]

Conservatives will be watching Harris closely for any missteps, hoping to drag her into further controversy on an issue that they see as a political winner.

In her efforts to win commitments on corruption from the region’s leaders, Harris can point to a number of moves by the Biden administration last week.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the problem during his own recent trip to Central America. The White House issued a memo elevating foreign corruption to a major national security issue, and directed all federal agencies to prioritize it and modernize their foreign corruption-fighting tools.....

[I blinked and I missed it]

Eric Olson, director of policy at the Seattle International Foundation, which works to promote good governance in Central America, said that addressing corruption will take particular diplomatic skill. Harris will need to hold the leaders of Guatemala and Mexico accountable while also deepening trust and cooperation with the two nations. “The challenge that she faces is how to, on the one hand, have a conversation, keep the door open — while not seeming to ignore the obvious elephant in the room, which is this incredible penetration of the state by corrupt actors,” he said.

In Mexico, López Obrador continues to face a complicated security situation in many parts of the country. Nearly three-dozen candidates or pre-candidates were killed before this weekend’s midterm elections as drug cartels sought to protect their interests. The government’s inability to provide security in parts of the country is of interest to the U.S. in an immigration context, both for the people who are displaced by violence and the impact it has on a severely weakened economy trying reemerge from the pandemic.....

I was further told that Harris’ visit comes with high expectations, but experts say clear progress on corruption may be elusive because “these are societies built on corruption,” like the one of which she is allegedly vice president -- but there is hope yet!

"Harris seeks ‘hope at home’ for Guatemalans" by Alexandra Jaffe The Associated Press, June 7, 2021

[It was a false hope because she said ‘do not come.’]

GUATEMALA CITY — Vice President Kamala Harris offered an optimistic outlook for improved cooperation with Guatemala on addressing the spike in migration to the United States after her meeting with its president, Alejandro Giammattei, on Monday. She also delivered a direct warning to migrants considering making the trek: “Do not come. Do not come.”

Her comments, during a press conference after she met privately with the Guatemalan president, underscored the challenge that remains even as Harris engages in substantive talks with the Guatemalan and Mexican presidents during a three-day visit to the region this week, her first foreign trip as vice president.

“I want to emphasize that the goal of our work is to help Guatemalans find hope at home," Harris said. “At the same time, I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come, do not come.”

In conjunction with Harris's trip, the Biden administration announced the Justice Department would create an anti-corruption task force and an additional task force to combat human trafficking and drug smuggling in the region. Harris also promised a new program focused on creating education and economic opportunities for girls there, among other new initiatives, but for all the talk about new ways to cooperate, reining in corruption and improving living conditions in the region have been long-running challenges that previous administrations have been unable to achieve in their efforts to stem the tide of migration to the United States.

[You know, it all sounds good until you realize they are the ones who are facilitating that which they claim to be fighting. 

The government has become a wolf in sheep's clothing, except the emperor has no clothes]

Part of the challenge remains that, despite the best efforts of US officials, corruption underpins many of the region’s governments. Indeed, Giammattei himself has faced criticism over his handling of the issue.

Last month, two lawyers who are outspoken critics of Giammattei’s administration were arrested on what they say were trumped-up charges aimed at silencing them, and the selection of judges for Guatemala’s Constitutional Court, its highest, was mired in influence peddling and allegations of corruption. Giammattei picked his chief of staff to fill one of the five vacancies. When Gloria Porras, a respected force against corruption, was elected to a second term, the congress controlled by Giammattei’s party refused to seat her.

[Now why did Giuliani just come to mind?]

On Monday, Giammattei seemed less than eager to address those issues.

Asked by the Associated Press about criticism of his record on corruption, Giammattei initially ignored the question. When being pressed by another journalist to answer for the complaints against him, Giammattei seemed to bristle at the allegation that he was at fault on the issue, insisting that there were “zero” allegations of corruption against him and labeling drug traffickers the biggest corruption issue in his nation.

Still, Harris expressed optimism about their ability to work together on the issue, telling reporters that the two had a “very frank and very candid” conversation that included “the importance of anti-corruption and the importance of an independent judiciary.”

Harris said the Justice, Treasury, and State departments would work together on anti-corruption investigations and train local law enforcement to conduct their own.

“We are creating this task force to address corruption. We are working on a task force that is about human smuggling. We are doing the work of requiring certain progress be made if we are going to attract US investment, private investment, to this region,” said Harris.

Giammattei said the United States and Guatemala also agreed to collaborate on a “very simple process” through visas to allow for regular migration to the United States, and that the two countries would work to prioritize family reunifications.

The White House also announced a $7.5 million commitment through USAID to support entrepreneurs and innovators in Guatemala, as well as millions more in investments in affordable housing, agri-businesses, and loans to small businesses in the country.

[The entire world knows that AID = CIA, so good luck Giammattei, and I was told there would be no aid forthcoming so.... sigh]

Besides her meeting with Giammattei, Harris was to participate in a roundtable with Guatemalan community and civil society leaders, and to meet with young innovators and entrepreneurs, including a number of female entrepreneurs.

In addressing the root causes of migration, Harris has laid out an approach centered on creating better opportunities and living conditions in the region through humanitarian and economic aid. She has focused many of her public events and listening sessions before this visit on work with civil society organizations and international businesses, which her aides say is an acknowledgment that the work of improving the situation in the region cannot be done by its governments alone.

Washington won some goodwill through its vaccine diplomacy this past week. Giammattei and President Andres Manuel López Obrador of Mexico both received calls from Harris on Thursday telling them the United States would be sending 500,000 doses and 1 million doses, respectively, of COVID-19 vaccine.

While in Latin America, Harris is also navigating the politics of immigration. Congressional Republicans have criticized President Joe Biden and Harris for not visiting the US-Mexico border and contend the administration is ignoring what they say is a crisis there. April was the second-busiest month on record for unaccompanied children encountered at the border, following March’s all-time high. The Border Patrol’s total encounters in April were up 3 percent from March, marking the highest level since April 2000.

Conservatives are watching Harris closely for any missteps, hoping to drag her into further controversy on an issue that they see as a political winner.

On Monday, Harris defended her decision not to visit the border, telling reporters she was focused on addressing the root causes of migration in a way that delivers “tangible” results “as opposed to grand gestures.”

Time to count the votes:

"Mexico president’s grip on Congress slips, showing limits of his mandate" by Anatoly Kurmanaev and Oscar Lopez New York Times, June 7, 2021

MEXICO CITY — Voters in Mexico tapped the brakes on President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s ambitious plans to overhaul the country’s economy and society by narrowing his leftist coalition’s majority in Congress in midterm elections Sunday.

The governing Morena party was expected to hold between 190 and 203 seats in Mexico’s lower house of Congress, a decline of up to 60 lawmakers, according to preliminary results released late Sunday by the country’s electoral board.

Although Morena, together with allies, will still be the dominant force in the 500-seat legislature, the coalition is expected to fall well short of the two-thirds majority required to push through the most sweeping aspects of López Obrador’s agenda.

“It’s a powerful reversal,” said Carlos Bravo Regidor, a political analyst and professor at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching in Mexico City.

[Translation: they couldn't thieve it any more than that]

Morena has also suffered heavy losses in Mexico’s capital, a megalopolis of 9 million that had voted for leftist candidates since 1997, losing seats in the local assembly and key municipal offices. The defeats in Mexico City were an important blow to the government, symbolically as well as substantively, underlining the ebbing of support for López Obrador’s project among the country’s educated middle class, said Genaro Lozano, a political scientist at Mexico’s Iberoamerican University.

[If I want to know what is really going on in Mexico I turn over stones and stay vigilant]

While many aspects of López Obrador’s agenda are already underway, such as the construction of major infrastructure, the election results will make other changes more difficult. In particular, the results will hinder López Obrador’s flagship plan to return Mexico’s energy sector to state control.

Despite the president’s enduring popularity, especially among the poor, the results appear to show the limits of his popular mandate to change the nation under a bold program he has billed Mexico’s “Fourth Transformation.”

In a silver lining for the government, López Obrador’s coalition was expected to make major gains in the more than 20,000 local and regional offices also contested in Mexico’s largest-ever elections, deepening Morena’s national reach and cementing the ascendancy of a party that was founded less than 10 years ago.

[Meaning the vote fraud was massive on a national level because it is much easier than a limited local election. 

So López Obrador was like Trump, huh? 

Coattails with no coat!]

The elections were marred by one of Mexico’s worst waves of political violence, underlining López Obrador’s challenge on confronting crime, which polls showed was one of the voters’ main concerns.

[He is like Biden and the Democrats then!]

Thirty-four candidates were killed during the campaign and dozens of polling stations were shut down by armed assailants, or out of fear of retribution. A human head was thrown at the entrance of one polling station in the city of Tijuana, on the US border, and body parts were found nearby. It was not immediately clear to authorities who did it, or why.

The Mexican peso rallied nearly 1 percent in early Monday trading, one of the best performances among emerging market currencies, suggesting the business sector was reacting positively to new checks on López Obrador’s power.

The main opposition parties performed better than expected at the polls, after deciding to put aside major ideological differences and confront López Obrador in a coalition. The pro-business National Action Party will be the biggest opposition force in Congress, with 106 to 117 seats. An opposition candidate also led the preliminary results in the governor’s race for the state of Nuevo León, Mexico’s economic powerhouse.

López Obrador has spent much of his three years in power attacking opposition parties and independent institutions such as Mexico’s electoral commission as wasteful or downright corrupt, widening the political schisms in Mexican society, said the political analysts. Now, in order to push the more radical changes he is pursuing, the president faces the choice of doubling down on his polarizing approach and trying to govern by presidential decrees or negotiating with the opposition, they added.

[Everything the Times is saying describes the U.S. government and its political scene, not Mexico's. 

It's called projection, and it's disgusting]

Governing by decree could prove challenging: To date, most of the president’s landmark laws are tied up in Mexico’s courts, which so far have resisted presidential pressure to allow the bills to take effect.

“We’re seeing a ruling party that’s been humbled, that will need to negotiate from now on,” Lozano said. “We are far from political hegemony.”

On Monday morning, during his regular news conference, López Obrador appeared to strike a more conciliatory tone.

“Unlike in previous times, the state did not intervene,” he said. “The people spoke — they decided who should represent them.”

Here comes Harris:

"In Mexico, Harris defends against criticism over border" by Alexandra Jaffe the Associated Press, June 8, 2021

MEXICO CITY — Vice President Kamala Harris brushed off questions about her decision not to go to the US-Mexico border as part of her work to address the spike in migration, declaring Tuesday that while it was “legitimate” to be concerned about the situation at the border, it wouldn’t be addressed with a simple visit.

As she closed out a two-day visit to Guatemala and Mexico aimed at strengthening diplomatic ties to help deal with migration to the United States, Harris declared: “When I’m in Guatemala dealing with root causes, I think we should have a conversation about what’s going on in Guatemala.”

[How was she getting around on her trip, and was the $hamele$$ and hypocritical carbon footprint on that?]

Speaking to reporters traveling with her in Mexico, Harris was asked about the prospect that her decision not to visit the border may be overshadowing her focus on the very issues prompting migrants to flee their homes for the United States.

“You can’t say you care about the border without caring about the root causes, without caring about the acute causes” of migration, she said. “It would be very easy to say, we’ll travel to one place and therefore it’s solved. I don’t think anybody thinks that that would be the solution,” she added.

Harris’s decision not to go to the border as part of her mission on migration threatened to overshadow her diplomacy as she closed out a two-day trip to Guatemala and Mexico focused on stemming the flow of people into the United States. Her work thus far has focused on strengthening diplomatic relations, and she met with both Guatemala’s and Mexico’s presidents on her trip to discuss economic investments and increased enforcement against trafficking, smuggling, and corruption.

The increase in migration at the border has become one of the major challenges confronting Biden in the early months of his first term, with Republicans seizing on an issue they see as politically advantageous. Polls suggest Americans are less favorable toward Biden’s approach to immigration than they are toward his policies on the economy and the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Yeah, implicit in the statement is that Democrats don't seize on issues that are politically advantageous.

AP a$$hole!]

They’ve tried to make Harris the face of that immigration policy, charging she and Biden are ignoring the issue because both have yet to visit the southern border. Harris told reporters she was focused on “tangible” results “as opposed to grand gestures.”


Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)]

Harris and her aides have sought to make clear that her mission is narrowly focused on finding diplomatic solutions to the problem at the border, but during her trip this week she and the Biden administration were dogged by questions on the issue

[Going to need a pooper scooper]

The administration said the meeting produced an agreement to have an economic dialogue in September on trade, telecommunications, and supply chains, and the two countries will also partner on human trafficking and economic programs addressing why people leave El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for the United States.

Harris told López Obrador at the start of their meeting that the two nations are “embarking on a new era" and emphasized the longstanding “interdependence and interconnection" of the two nations.

Harris also met female entrepreneurs and planned to hold a round table with labor leaders in Mexico before heading back to Washington on Tuesday night.

[The print copy cut the flight short, but the web version kept on flying]

The visit to Mexico capped Harris’s first foreign trip as vice president, a brief foray that brought her first to Guatemala on Monday. While in Guatemala, she met President Alejandro Giammattei. To coincide with their meeting, the Biden administration announced a number of new commitments to combat trafficking, smuggling, and corruption, as well as investments in economic development in the country, but some Democrats criticized the vice president Monday when she delivered a direct message to those considering leaving their homes and making the often dangerous trek to the US border: “Do not come.”

Her comments echoed those made by past US officials as they’ve tried to dissuade migrants from seeking to cross the border, as the US faces unprecedented numbers of attempted border crossings. Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York called her comments “disappointing” and noted that it is legal to seek asylum.

Harris declined to respond directly to the criticism when reporters asked, saying only: “I’m really clear: We have to deal with the root causes and that is my hope. Period,” but the criticism from both Republicans and Democrats underscored the politically fraught nature of the assignment, and the difficulty Harris faces in finding success with an intractable challenge that's only grown in recent months.

[Intractable means unsolvable, so just throw upon your hands with the border, huh?]

Illegal border crossings have increased steadily since April 2020, after Trump introduced pandemic-related powers to deny migrants the opportunity to seek asylum, but further accelerated under Biden. The new president quickly scrapped many of Trump’s hardline border policies — most notably the program that made asylum-seekers wait in Mexico, often in dangerous conditions, for dates in US immigration court. US border authorities encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children in March, the highest on record. Overall, more than 170,000 encounters were reported on the border in April, the highest level in more than 20 years. The numbers aren’t directly comparable because getting stopped under pandemic-related authorities carries no legal consequences, resulting in many repeat crossings.

[OMG, they blame it on Trump with running interference and cover for Biden!]

During an NBC interview, she dismissed a question on why she hadn’t yet visited by responding, “and I haven’t been to Europe, and I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making — I’m not discounting the importance of the border.” After Republicans seized on her comments to portray Harris as out of touch with the issue, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was forced to defend the decision as well, but it drew headlines even as Harris called attention to what she described as a productive meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. After the meeting, the administration announced a range of agreements brokered between the two governments, including a $130 million commitment over the next three years from the United States to support labor reforms in Mexico and loans to bolster southern Mexico’s economy.


"White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested in a podcast interview that aired Thursday that President Biden has not traveled to the US-Mexico border because there is relatively limited public interest in the situation there, despite repeated calls by Republicans for him to witness firsthand the effect of a surge in migrants. Psaki’s comments came in a wide-ranging interview on “The Axe Files” podcast, hosted by David Axelrod, who was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama. Psaki also said her tenure as press secretary could end by this time next year. “We’re often asked, ‘Why doesn’t he go to the border?’ Important issue. We’re focused on it,” Psaki said. “What percentage of the public is focused on the border? A much smaller percentage than who’s focused on the pandemic and the economy. So that may be maddening, but, you know, that’s what we try to do.” A Pew survey in April showed that American concern about illegal immigration had in fact jumped, with a similar percentage saying it was a “very big problem” as said the same of the coronavirus pandemic....."


Also see:

Harris told them not to come after offering them child care and payments to families to the tune of $15 billion because it is ‘critical infrastructure’ -- just like the COVID vaccination drive.


"Vice President Kamala Harris announced Tuesday that the Biden administration is distributing $1.25 billion to hundreds of community lenders in an effort to help boost the economic recovery from the coronavirus for small businesses and disadvantaged business owners. The funds are going to more than 860 community development financial institutions, or CDFIs, around the country. CDFIs offer loans to small businesses and those who may be turned down for loans from major banks, a problem that studies have shown particularly plagues minority business owners. Harris has focused on small businesses from the start of her vice presidency, and has emphasized in particular the need to support minority- and female-owned small businesses as key to a robust economic recovery."