VP Kamala Harris ‘may’ visit border ‘at some point’

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday said Vice President Kamala Harris “may” visit the US-Mexico border — after President Biden’s migration czar drew fire for laughing off a reporter’s question about whether she would go.

“I think that at some point she may go to the border. We’ll see,” Psaki said at her daily press briefing.

Later, Psaki added, “if it is constructive and it moves the ball forward for her to visit the border, she certainly may do that.”

Harris, who is in Mexico on her first trip since Biden tapped her in March to stem a surge in migration, told NBC news anchor Lester Holt in an interview aired on the “Today” show that she didn’t need to visit the border — laughingly adding that she also hasn’t traveled to Europe.

“We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border, we’ve been to the border,” Harris said, to which Holt replied, “You haven’t been to the border.”

White House Press Secretary said that Vice President Kamala Harris might still take a visit to the border.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Harris might still make a visit to the border.
EPA/Sarah Silbiger / POOL

Harris countered, “And I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”

The reply drew significant Republican criticism.

“The Vice President thinks the border crisis is a hilarious joke,” tweeted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) tweeted, “Well @VP Harris, I have been to the border and it’s nothing to laugh about. Thanks to Biden/Harris policies, officials are stretched thin and both border communities and migrants are suffering. This is not a joke, it’s a crisis on your watch.”

On Monday, Harris also dismissed a reporter’s question at a press conference in Guatemala regarding why she hasn’t visited the southern border, saying that such a trip would be a mere “grand gesture.”

Vice President Kamala Harris speaking at a news conference with Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaking at a news conference with Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei in Guatemala City on June 7, 2021.
REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Harris has faced pressure for months to visit the border, though the White House has taken pains to emphasize that her charge is limited to addressing the “root causes” of migration from the three-country Northern Triangle of Central America, which includes El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The three countries are home to the majority of unaccompanied minors and families surging to the border this year.

Harris’ trip to the region got off to a difficult start when Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei blamed the Biden administration for the migrant crisis in a Sunday interview, saying US officials sent mixed messages.

Harris was then greeted at Guatemala’s presidential palace by pro-Donald Trump protesters who brandished signs that said “Trump won” and “Go home.”

Migrants obtained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in San Luis, Arizona on May 21, 2021.
Migrants detained by US Customs and Border Protection in San Luis, Arizona, on May 21, 2021.
Photo by Nick Ut/Getty Images

Critics attribute the border surge to Biden’s policies, including his decision to end Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy that required most asylum-seekers from Central America to remain in Mexico while US courts reviewed their claims of persecution.

Biden also ended construction of Trump’s US-Mexico border wall and urged Congress to pass legislation that would establish a path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants. Republicans said the legislation and Biden’s policy changes created new “pull” factors for illegal immigration.

The number of US-Mexico border detentions soared to a 21-year monthly high of more than 178,000 in April, the most recent month for which statistics are available.



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