To the editor: Vice President Kamala Harris' three-word message to the people of Central America — "do not come" — contradicts what immigrant advocacy groups and faith leaders have been saying during the Trump administration and now the Biden administration: "Welcome the stranger." ("'Do not come': Kamala Harris' three words to Guatemalans stir debate and backlash," June 9)
Words may not deter those who are fleeing violence, poverty and oppression in Central America, but they do reinforce the anti-immigrant feelings and actions that have been growing in this country. Harris betrays the faith of families and advocates who believed this administration would reverse Trump's punitive border policies.
Children have yet to be reunited with their families, and asylum seekers who have the legal right to cross borders are told "do not come." Harris must not emulate Trump; she should work to create pathways for hopeful migrants to realize their dreams instead of facing violence and death in their countries.
Lenore Navarro Dowling, Los Angeles
To the editor: Harris was being blunt when she told potential migrants in Guatemala, "Do not come." Nevertheless, they will come.
I recently saw an interview with a Guatemalan woman and her two-month-old, the 10th of her children. When asked if she would approve of her other children making the journey to the United States, she said she would like that because they have nothing where they are.
This was heartbreaking to watch, but it is something the United States has had a role in.
During the Reagan era, the far right decided that it was a sin to provide family planning and birth control to these countries. The result has been an explosion of births. When the population explodes in a small country with limited resources, mass migration ensues.
The United States should bear some of the burden it helped create.
Francine Oschin, Encino
To the editor: What exactly were Harris' critics expecting the vice president to say? That everybody is welcome to come to the United States? That we are ready to welcome everyone who wants to come?
The border is in crisis, and the system is overwhelmed by those already at the border attempting to cross. Be real, folks.
Charles Blankson, Fontana
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.