“The song remains the same.”
That’s how Carper summarizes all the latest talk about the increased number of migrants arriving at the border — and the debate surrounding what to do about it.
Carper has been around for several border “crisis”-or-not-a-“crisis” debates on Capitol Hill. And through them all, he’s had the same message: Let’s look farther south than the border. Let’s help these countries address the reasons why thousands of people are fleeing their homes in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
So far, the Biden administration has been all about the U.S.-Mexico border. Biden is still using a public health order invoked by then-President Donald Trump to expel most migrants crossing the border. Biden’s administration has spent much of the past two months trying to expand capacity to house and process thousands of unaccompanied children arriving.
However, Carper is optimistic his longtime friend Biden will do more than just fixate on the border.
And on Monday, there could be some movement in that direction. Vice President Kamala Harris is set to meet virtually with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss ways to tackle the increased migration. Harris, who last month was tapped by Biden as the point person on tackling root causes of migration, will also visit the region in June.
I sat down with Carper, who has been to Central America at least five times in the past seven years, to talk about what, for years, has prompted migrants to make the trek to the U.S. — and what his buddy Biden has to say about it. His staff said he’d have four decades-worth of stories and knowledge of the region to share. They were right.