Along with voting rights, immigration recently became one of Harris’s “issues” as vice president, leading some to speculate as to whether Biden is setting her up for failure. Conventional wisdom dictates that Harris must act as a spokesperson for the president’s immigration policy, which has earned him backlash when it came to the reopening of controversial detention centers and his administration’s initial cap on refugees—but that certainly doesn’t absolve her from a cruel statement like this one.


“This is disappointing to see,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet Monday night, responding to Harris’s comments. “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.

“It would be helpful if the US would finally acknowledge its contributions to destabilization and regime change in the region,” she said.

Ostensibly, this is part of the Biden administration’s agenda in Central America: NPR reports Harris is also slated to stop in Mexico City on her trip, “to spearhead efforts to address the root cause” of migration. In response to Ocasio-Cortez’s criticism, Harris reiterated: “We have to deal with the root causes, and that is my focus. Period.”

But her original comment— “Do not come”—strips away the administration’s empty rhetoric, seeming to reveal its true concerns about immigration: preserving American interests above all else.