Vice President Harris’ office Tuesday doubled down on her call for migrants not to make the long trek from Central America to the United States amid criticism from some progressives for comments she made Monday telling Guatemalans: “Do not come.”

“The President and Vice President have been clear in dissuading people from making the dangerous and treacherous journey to the U.S./Mexico border,” Harris chief spokesperson Symone Sanders said in a statement. “We encourage those who do want to come to the U.S. to do so legally and seek legal immigration options in their home countries. The Vice President is committed to addressing the root causes of migration, which also addresses why migrants are coming to our border.”

The statement came after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., denounced Harris’ “do not come” comment on Monday. Harris in the same comments also said she believes that if people come to the U.S. border then they “will be turned away.”

“This is disappointing to see,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival. Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing.”


That tweet was shared by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who is another member of the far-left “Squad” in the House.

Harris’ original comments came at a Monday press conference with Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei. Harris said her focus is on “root causes” of immigration like poor economies and corruption in Central America. But she also said people should not attempt to cross the border between the United States and Mexico.

“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,” Harris said. “The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border. There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur. But we, as one of our priorities, will discourage illegal migration. And I believe if you come to our border, you will be turned back.”

Harris also took criticism from other far-left activists and commentators Monday. Among them was Briahna Joy Gray, the former press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on his presidential campaign.

“Sincerely glad to see elected officials slowly acknowledging that the Biden administration does not, in fact, exceed or even meet basic expectations,” she tweeted in response to Ocasio-Cortez’s post.

Vice President Kamala Harris removes her translation device during a news conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Monday, June 7, 2021, at the National Palace in Guatemala City. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

“This is so condescending – as if people had any other choice,” added Elias Lopez, the senior global opinions editor at the Washington Post. “People are legally allowed to claim asylum at the border. This is not a humane policy. This is more of the same.”


Harris is in Central America this week on her first international trip as vice president. She was assigned by President Biden to manage the government’s response to the massive surge of migration to the southern border and is emphasizing addressing “root causes” of the surge in Central America.

The number of migrants arriving at the southern border has skyrocketed under the Biden administration. According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency encountered more than 173,000 migrants in March and more than 178,000 in April. This is up from over 78,000 in January and over 74,000 in February.

Many families who come to the U.S. border are being allowed to stay in the country, despite Harris’ comments.

Border Patrol has released more than 60,000 migrants into the United States without a court date since Biden took office, asking them to simply report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) instead.

Fox News’ Pat Ward and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.