Harris to visit US-Mexico border area on Friday

Pablo Tucker
June 23, 2021

She will be accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

She said the decision on the timing of the visit was coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security and that both the White House and Harris had offered previously that the vice president could go to the border at an appropriate time.

The trip is part of her job of addressing the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Yet Republicans have called her the "border czar", hoping to make Harris the face of the issue.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris gestures as she delivers remarks on child tax credits at Brookline Memorial Recreation Center, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 21, 2021.

Harris will "assess and take a look at progress that's been made", she said.

The U.S. continues to battle a surge in migrant encounters at the U.S. border, which totaled more than 180,000 in May, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Asked about a connection, White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged to reporters in Washington that the administration was aware of Trump's pending travel plans. Shortly after the news of Harris' visit began circulating, Trump released a statement claiming that if he and Abbott "weren't going there next week, she would have never gone!" This is only a few days before the planned visit of former President Trump, who intends to tour the border with Governor Greg Abbott.

Of those, the majority - more than 112,000 - were nearly immediately expelled.

The U.S. has also seen a record number of unaccompanied children taken into custody under the Biden administration. The number of child arrivals has steadily decreased in April and May but remains well above that 2019 record. Some Democrats who represent border districts have joined Republicans in criticizing the Biden administration's handling of the situation. By itself and at any other time, the news would not have been a big deal, but her delay in her visiting the border months after she was entrusted with dealing with the root causes of migration by President Joe Biden - along with her testiness when asked about it - has brought forth a cascade of criticism from across the political spectrum. During a press conference with the Guatemalan president earlier this month, Harris dismissed the criticism, saying her visit to the region was focused on finding ways to address irregular migration in a way "that is significant, is tangible and has real results".

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