More than six weeks after President Biden put Kamala Harris in charge of the ongoing border crisis, the Vice President said recently that she will finally make her first trip as border czar on June 7-8. But Harris won’t be visiting the actual border–not the U.S. one at least. Instead, she will travel to Mexico and Guatemala. The announcement comes after weeks of Republican uproar over the Biden administration’s refusal to tackle the crisis, even as illegal entries into the United States rise at an unprecedented pace.
Biden tapped Harris to oversee the border in March, eager to defer to his Vice President on what has been a politically thorny issue – only 29% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the border, according to a recent poll.
Since then, Harris has done everything she can to downplay her responsibility on the issue of immigration, often shifting blame for the administration’s failures to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Although she has referred to the ongoing surge of migrants as “alarming,” Harris has steadfastly refused to call the situation a crisis, much to the chagrin of law enforcement and residents in border states who know all too well that it is indeed a crisis as they struggle to manage what has become a humanitarian disaster.
Harris has also deflected when asked about the administration’s plan to provide assistance to border communities, repeatedly insisting that she is only in charge of addressing the so-called “root causes” of mass migration. The White House has identified these root causes as things like hurricane damage, global warming, poverty, racial discrimination, and gang violence. Believing that the United States can solve these root causes in another country, the Biden administration has called for increased foreign aid to the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is unwilling to send the resources required to our own border states to stop the growing disaster. Moreover, this foreign aid assistance will do nothing in the short term–and most likely nothing in the long term–to help stop the more than 1,000 undocumented individuals who cross the border and evade capture every day.
Harris’s decision to only visit Mexico and Guatemala and not the actual border has sparked criticism from border communities who are bearing the brunt of the fallout from Biden’s lax immigration policies. Recently, AMAC reported that four Texas counties have issued disaster declarations over the influx of migrants, with more likely to follow in the coming weeks. The United States is on pace to receive more than 2 million migrants this year, a sharp increase from the past four years under President Trump, where policies like “Remain in Mexico” helped dramatically slow border crossings. Biden rescinded this policy, along with many other Trump-era immigration reforms, shortly after taking office.
Mainstream media and congressional Democrats have been all too content to join with the Biden administration in pretending the border crisis does not exist. Thankfully, Republican lawmakers have taken it upon themselves to travel to the border several times since Biden took office and report back to the American people on the reality of the situation there. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the number two ranking Republican in the House, led a delegation of House members to the border early last month, while Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas, both Republicans, led a delegation in late March that exposed shocking images of migrant women and children packed in overcrowded facilities. Freshman Senator Bill Hagerty, a Republican from Tennessee, visited Mexico and Guatemala just this past week, a full month ahead of Harris’ visit. While Hagerty said he did not want to get in the way of the Biden administration, he felt the trip was necessary as a fact-finding mission, a point that underscores how little information the Biden administration is providing to lawmakers of either party.
Biden’s border crisis is an inconvenience for an administration that would prefer to focus on selling its $2 trillion infrastructure package. Only about 6% will go to actual hard infrastructures like roads and bridges. Harris, who has been crisscrossing the country visiting Democrat cities like New Haven and Chicago to promote Biden’s plan, would undoubtedly prefer to remain in friendly territory rather than face the ugly reality that Biden’s border policies have created in states like Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. As of today, Harris has no plans to visit the actual southern border and continues to be in denial about the depth of the crisis there.
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