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Podcast: The history behind Kamala Harris, ‘Do not come’ and Guatemala

A person with a baby on their back walks past storefronts with Spanish words on them.
A woman carrying a child walks past a closed courier business featuring a U.S. flag and the Spanish phrase: “Send to U.S.A” in the largely Indigenous town of Joyabaj, Guatemala, where half of the residents depend on remittances, almost all from the U.S.
(Moises Castillo / Associated Press)

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Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Central America and Mexico as part of the Biden administration’s strategy to address this country’s immigration issues. Supporters expected a kinder approach than that of the Trump administration. But with three simple words — “Do not come” — Harris ignited controversy.

Today, we talk to L.A. Times immigration reporter Cindy Carcamo about the backlash over Harris’ remarks, and whether President Biden’s immigration policies are markedly different from those of his predecessor. We also hear from Giovanni Batz, a Guatemalan American scholar about how U.S. foreign policy has long pushed Guatemalans out of their homeland and toward El Norte.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times immigration reporter Cindy Carcamo, and Giovanni Batz, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Native American Studies at UC Davis

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More reading:

‘Do not come’: Kamala Harris’ three words to Guatemalans stir debate and backlash

Guatemalan lives are thrown into upheaval by failed immigration bids

Documents Reveal CIA Guatemala Assassination Plots

Listen to more episodes of The Times here

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer Shannon Lin, senior producers Steven Cuevas and Denise Guerra, executive producer Abbie Fentress Swanson and editor Julia Turner. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our intern is Ashlea Brown. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.

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