Vice President Kamala Harris said Thursday that “extreme climate” is one of several root causes behind the surge of illegal migrants at the southern border.
The Northern Triangle refers to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, hundreds of thousands of people flee these countries every year due to “chronic violence, corruption, and poverty.” Most head to the United States.
Local governments in the Northern Triangle have tried several “pro-development,” “tough-on-crime” policies with help from the U.S. to stem the exodus. Yet those attempts have only seen little success.
During the Thursday roundtable, Harris suggested that to solve the border crisis, the administration must “address both what I think of as the acute and the root causes of migration.”
“Most people don’t want to leave home. They don’t want to leave their grandparents, they don’t want to leave the culture,” Harris remarked, saying that people leave their home countries due to a variety of factors, which the Biden-Harris administration is examining.
“We are looking at extensive storm damage because of extreme climate, we’re looking at drought in an area in a region where agriculture is one of the most traditionally important basis for their economy, we’re looking at what’s happening in terms of food scarcity as a result of that and in fact incredible food insecurity, which we used to call hunger, food insecurity,” Harris said.
Between late October and mid-November, two months before the crisis at the border began around January 2021, two powerful hurricanes, Hurricane Eta and Hurricane Iota, struck the Northern Triangle, according to information from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The destruction wrought by the two storms damaged around 250,000 homes, displaced more than half a million people and rendered more than 5.3 million people in urgent need of aid, Newsweek reported.
The Northern Triangle countries are also part of a region known as the Central American Dry Corridor. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Dry Corridor is suffering from one of the worst famines it has seen over the last ten years. The crisis has left 3.5 million people requiring humanitarian assistance, according to the organization.
Harris also mentioned “extreme poverty,” “violence, “corruption” and shortage in economic opportunities as factors the administration is looking at.
Harris, assigned to help solve the border crisis by President Joe Biden, will meet virtually with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Monday to discuss the situation, according to Fox News.
The vice president also plans to visit the Northern Triangle in June.
Despite it being more than three months since the border crisis began, neither Biden nor Harris has stepped foot near the border.