Vice President Kamala Harris will finally visit the United States-Mexico border this week, three months after being put in charge of the immigration crisis, and days after Republicans urged President Joe Biden to relieve Harris of her duties and replace her with a new border czar.
Politico reports that Harris “will make a stop in El Paso, Texas on Friday, according to sources familiar with the trip. She is expected to be accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.”
Harris’s office and the Department of Homeland Security both refused to confirm details of the Vice President’s planned visit.
It appears that Harris was trying to beat former President Donald Trump to the border. Trump is scheduled to pay a visit to the border in Texas and speak with Governor Greg Abbott about his plans to build his own border barrier and send reinforcements to the Texas border with Mexico, a plan that Abbott announced last week.
“Harris’ trip comes just days before former President Donald Trump is set to visit the border,” Politico noted. “Trump will be joined on that trip by Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott and a group of House Republicans.”
Harris was placed in charge of the Biden administration’s border crisis back in February, after a sudden, major spike in illegal alien apprehensions at the border. She has repeatedly said, however, that she is not in charge of the border itself — she claimed that DHS Secretary Mayorkas is tasked with handling the issue of illegal immigration — but that she was tasked with solving “root causes” of migration in the Northern Triangle — El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the crisis on the southern border has worsened dramatically since President Joe Biden took office. Illegal immigration has exploded to record levels, up more than 600% from last year.
Harris made a trip to the Northern Triangle countries earlier this month — a visit that was widely panned by critics, and widely viewed as unsuccessful by both American and Latin American legislators. Harris, notably, got visibly agitated whenever she was questioned over whether she planned to visit the United States-Mexico border, at one point cutting off a Univision reporter who questioned whether a border visit was on Harris’ agenda.
That interaction came after another testy back-and-forth between Harris and Latin American reporters where Harris was grilled over why she chose to visit Guatemala and Mexico rather than border towns and immigration facilities.
In that interview, Harris told reporters that, “It would be very easy to say, ‘We’ll travel to one place, and therefore it’s solved.’ I don’t think anybody thinks that that would be the solution.”
She later derided a border visit as a “grand gesture” that would divert attention from her “work.”
The pressure ramped up last week when former President Donald Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that Trump would pay a visit to the border in Texas and meet with Abbott about his plans to build his own border barrier, allowing Texas authorities to intercept illegal immigrants that slip past federal immigration officials.
“I have accepted the invitation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott to join him on an official visit to our Nation’s decimated Southern Border on Wednesday, June 30, 2021,” Trump said in a statement. “The Biden Administration inherited from me the strongest, safest, and most secure border in U.S. history, and in mere weeks they turned it into the single worst border crisis in U.S. history. It’s an unmitigated disaster zone.”
“If this weren’t bad enough, Biden and Harris won’t even tour the scenes of the wreckage they created, or come down and visit with the Border Patrol and ICE heroes risking their lives to defend our Nation at a time when the White House is doing everything it can to make their job totally impossible,” Trump said last week. “What Biden and Harris have done, and are continuing to do on our border, is a grave and willful dereliction of duty. My visit will hopefully shine a spotlight on these crimes against our Nation—and show the incredible people of ICE and Border Patrol that they have our unshakeable support.”
Last week, Republican legislators sent a letter to Biden demanding that he relieve Harris of her border duties if she continued to refuse to visit the border.
“Despite being in the midst of a border crisis this country has not seen in two decades, Vice President Harris has not yet shown adequate interest in observing this crisis first-hand,” a group of lawmakers wrote in their letter. “In the 85 days since the Vice President has been tasked with solving this crisis, she has yet to visit the border and meet with Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and local law enforcement officials.”