Vice President Kamala Harris referenced the television show Cheers to explain the migrant crisis on Wednesday.
Harris explained most people in Central American countries do not want to leave their homes where they are familiar with the language and culture.
“You know, to use a phrase from an old television show, Cheers, you know, ‘where everybody knows your name,'” she said, reciting words from the show’s theme song. She explained, “Most people don’t want to leave home.”
Harris argued that migrants to the United States are motivated to leave their home countries because they are afraid of physical harm or are unable to meet their economic needs.
“That is one part of what informs my perspective on this issue of addressing the root causes,” she said.
She said she wanted to inspire hope for the citizens of countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
“There is an important four-letter word, which I hope always inspires us to do the work we do, and that word is ‘hope,'” she said, explaining that her priority is to give citizens of Central America “some hope that if they stay at home, help is on the way.”
The vice president spoke about meeting the challenges of the “severe climate experiences” in the region and tackling violence and corruption.
“I happen to really care a lot about water policy,” she said, promising to explore ideas of how to help the region on issues of irrigation and agriculture.
Harris also said she wants to work through the United Nations to “internationalize” the crisis and get American allies involved in the region.
She said that “making sure that women and girls are being protected and have the opportunities that they deserve to have” is another one of her priorities in the region.
Harris acknowledged it would take some time before the “root causes” of the crisis change enough to see results at the border.
“That’s the work that I’m prepared to do, which is to begin that process of meaningful work, knowing that we’re going to have to have a long-term strategy,” she said. “And it will take some time to see the benefits of that work, but it will be worth it.”