For the first time since taking office, Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the US-Mexico border on June 25. The development comes amid criticism from both Democrats and Republicans about Harris not visiting the area sooner despite helming the Biden administration’s response to a sharp increase in migration.
According to a statement by Harris’ senior adviser Symone Sanders, the Vice President will visit the El Paso region along with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, after months of criticism.
Earlier this year, President Joe Biden assigned Harris with assessing the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States. But so far, the Vice President has concentrated primarily on outreach to local leaders and advocacy groups with the aim of improving economic and living conditions in the area. Harris stated that her goal is to give hope to the people of Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador for their future, so they aren’t driven to leave their homeland to pursue better opportunities.
Harris’ aides have repeatedly asserted that her efforts are different from the security problems that plague US officials trying to manage a surge in border crossings. However, GOP members have pointed out that both Biden and Harris’ failure to visit the border makes it seem as though the administration is absent in times of crisis.
The Vice President will visit the border just days before former President Donald Trump is scheduled to. Trump presumably will use the occasion to direct Republican attacks on Democrats for being soft on immigration.
Rather than focussing on grand gestures, Harris has maintained that she was looking at “tangible results.” She also asserted that she had visited the border earlier while serving as Senator from California and stressed that unless attention is paid to the root causes of migration, the situation there will never be solved.