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Vice President Kamala Harris visited the U.S.-Mexico southern border on Friday after months of criticism for not going to the area following Biden’s decision to place her in charge of the border crisis response three months ago.
Speaking to reporters after arriving in El Paso, Harris said, “I’m glad to be here. It was always the plan to come here, and I think we’re gonna have a good productive day.”
She was also asked by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy why now was the time to make her first trip down to the border.
“It’s not my first trip, I’ve been to the border many times,” she responded, per Fox News.
“Her schedule included a tour of a Customs and Border Protection processing center and talks with advocates from faith-based organizations as well as shelter and legal service providers. She also planned to deliver remarks,” The Associated Press reported.
Members of both political parties have criticized Harris for refusing to go to the border and appearing to laugh about the situation when asked about her plans.
When NBC’s Lester Holt clarified that Harris herself had not been to the border during an interview earlier this month, Harris said, “and I haven’t been to Europe.”
Some have pointed to former President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will be visiting the border next week as a catalyst for the current vice president finally deciding to make a trip of her own.
“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.”
Harris was criticized by some for her choice in location, arriving in El Paso instead of the Rio Grande Valley area. As The Daily Wire reported, “Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), whose district is in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, told Fox News this week that Harris’ trip was a politically safe trip.”
“I have no idea,” Cuellar said when asked why the Biden administration has waited a long time to visit the border, “but I’m sure her planners told her that if you’re going to go down to the border, go to a, something that’s safer to go to that is politically safer. If you go down to the lower Rio Grande with the high activity and you’re there with kids and families, prosecutorial discretion, where people are being released, high numbers of people crossing the border, you know, politically that’s — it’s harder to do that, I know that.”
“I mean, that’s part of my district, but you got to do what you got to do,” Cuellar added. “You just can’t, you know, just go to one place, but she does do the ‘check the box and go down to the border’ by going to El Paso.”
Although some have noted that there are sometimes surges of illegal immigration at the beginning of a new administration, the crisis on the southern border has notably intensified since President Joe Biden took office. Last month, as The Daily Wire reported, “U.S. law enforcement officials apprehended more illegal aliens trying to enter the U.S. than in any other month on record at the Department of Homeland Security, which was founded in 2002.”
“In May 2021, CBP encountered 180,034 persons attempting entry along the Southwest Border,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. “Single adults continue to make up the majority of these encounters.”