Vice President Kamala Harris will journey to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday amid stress from Republicans who’ve seized on a surge of border crossings to criticize the Biden administration, her workplace introduced on Wednesday. She’s going to journey to El Paso with Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland safety secretary.
President Biden tapped Ms. Harris to guide an effort to enhance situations in Central America to discourage migration north because the administration struggled to securely course of unaccompanied minors on the border earlier this yr. Ms. Harris has since confronted mounting questions over her absence on the border from Republicans and a few reasonable Democrats who’ve mentioned the administration lacks a transparent technique on border safety.
The go to will come simply days earlier than former President Donald J. Trump is ready to go to the border with a gaggle of Home Republicans and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, who has pledged to complete the border wall that grew to become an emblem of Mr. Trump’s restrictive immigration agenda.
Ms. Harris and her aides have defended her position on migration, arguing that she is concentrated on addressing the poverty and persecution that pressure susceptible households to depart their properties. However even throughout a visit to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month geared toward bettering situations within the area, she continued to face questions over her absence on the border. Her solutions on the matter fueled criticism, pissed off brokers tasked with responding to the surge of migrants and perplexed some throughout the administration.
“I’ve by no means been to Europe,” Ms. Harris mentioned to the NBC anchor Lester Holt when pressed about why she had not visited the border. “I don’t perceive the purpose you’re making.”
Jen Psaki, the White Home press secretary, defended Ms. Harris’s feedback on Wednesday. “She mentioned in the identical interview she can be open to going to the border at an acceptable time,” Ms. Psaki mentioned.
Pressed on whether or not the timing of her journey had something to do with the upcoming go to by Mr. Trump, Ms. Psaki mentioned, “We made an evaluation inside our authorities about when it was an acceptable time for her to go the border.”
The vice chairman’s feedback to NBC distracted from her efforts to refocus consideration on initiatives to fight corruption, gun trafficking and unlawful border crossings. Throughout her journey, Ms. Harris additionally delivered a blunt message to migrants.
“Don’t come,” Ms. Harris mentioned in Guatemala, sparking criticism from immigration advocates and progressives.
Ms. Harris dedicated the subsequent day to visiting the southern border.
The Biden administration has made progress because it struggled to maneuver 1000’s of migrant youngsters and youngsters who crossed the border into shelters managed by the Division of Well being and Human Companies. Because the starting of the yr, greater than 65,000 migrant youngsters and youngsters arrived alone on the southern border, with report numbers arriving in the course of the spring months. However in Might, practically 2,900 fewer migrant youngsters arrived alone in comparison with a month earlier.
The Biden administration has continued to make use of a Trump-era pandemic emergency rule to quickly flip away most migrants on the border with out offering them an opportunity to use for asylum, regardless of Mr. Biden’s pledge in the course of the presidential marketing campaign to revive a system to supply safety to migrants. The coverage has been criticized by former officers with the Facilities for Illness Management and Safety, immigration advocates and the administration’s personal medical consultants.