Vice President Kamala Harris is en route to El Paso, Texas Friday morning for her first “border” journey — heading to a web site a whole bunch of miles from the epicenter of the migrant disaster for a visit many critics are calling out as rushed to keep away from former President Donald Trump taking a tour earlier than her.
Harris boarded Air Force Two from Joint Base Andrews simply earlier than dawn, simply after greeting Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, all of whom are becoming a member of her on the transient visit.
The VP declined to communicate to the touring press earlier than boarding, although she provided a wave.
The journey — Harris’ first within the greater than three months since President Biden tapped her to deal with the record-smashing surge of unlawful immigration — comes amid bipartisan criticism of the administration’s dealing with of the disaster.
The Biden administration’s undoing of former President Donald Trump’s border insurance policies has prompted a flood of Central American and Mexican unlawful migrants on the US border, together with 1000’s of unescorted kids.
Central Americans in search of refuge from the Northern Triangle nations — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — have taken these coverage strikes, in addition to the overwhelmingly extra welcoming tone from Democrats, as an indication that President Biden is inviting them to cross the border.
The knowledge, nonetheless, overwhelmingly exhibits that migrants are flooding the border as a result of they imagine Biden will welcome them with open arms, with over 170,000 illegal crossings a month.
As the disaster heated up, Biden tapped his vp to deal with the diplomatic measures associated to its “root causes.” However, regardless of intense strain, she had declined to commit to going to surveil the state of affairs for herself.
Once the journey was introduced, Republican and Democratic lawmakers had been fast to excoriate Harris on each the timing and site selection.
El Paso — which is represented by Escobar, a robust supporter of the Biden administration — has fared considerably higher than the Rio Grande Valley, represented by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).
Cuellar has spoken out towards the Biden administration’s dealing with of the disaster and inspired Harris to visit the area.
Escobar, in the meantime, has not.
In Arizona, the place Harris may also be avoiding, the Tuscon space has turn out to be a hub for the document migrant surges.
News of Harris’ shock journey got here shortly after Trump introduced that he could be touring to the border subsequent week, prompting skepticism of the timing.
Trump launched an announcement after it was introduced saying his deliberate border journey with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican Study Committee was what lastly pushed the VP to make the journey down south, to “see the tremendous destruction and death” brought on by Biden’s insurance policies.
“After months of ignoring the crisis at the Southern Border, it is great that we got Kamala Harris to finally go and see the tremendous destruction and death that they’ve created — a direct result of Biden ending my very tough but fair Border policies,” the forty fifth president started.
“Harris and Biden were given the strongest Border in American history. And now, it is by far the worst in American history.”
“If Governor Abbott and I weren’t going there next week, she would have never gone!”
Harris, who visited Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month as a part of her first international visit in workplace, was dogged for her total journey by questions on going to see the US-Mexico border in particular person.
Her answer to NBC News’ Lester Holt on the matter gained appreciable damaging consideration.
“At some point, you know, we are going to the border,” a defensive Harris told Holt on “Today” in Guatemala — 1,308 miles away from the US-Mexico crossing.
“We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border, we’ve been to the border,” Harris stated, to which Holt replied, “You haven’t been to the border.”
Harris, seeming to chuckle at her personal joke, responded: “And I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”
Speaking to reporters in regards to the journey Thursday, chief Harris spokeswoman Symone Sanders defended the timing and site selection, saying, “this administration does not take their cues from Republican criticism, nor from the former president of the United States of America.”
“The Vice President has said, over the course — over the last three months, that she would go to the border. She has been before. She would go again. She would go when it was appropriate, when it made sense.”
As for the selection of El Paso, Sanders took a shot at Republicans by making reference to the Trump administration.
“I will note that El Paso being the birthplace — birthplace of the previous administration’s family separation policy is an important part of the story here and one that you can expect we will continue to tell tomorrow on the ground.”