Nearly 100 days after being chosen to oversee the vital issue, Vice President Kamala Harris finally stopped by the southern border — albeit 800 miles from the epicenter, where nearly three times as many migrants cross — on her way to Los Angeles for the weekend.
A fortnight removed from her sojourn to Latin America, Harris arrived in El Paso to protests.
Protesters outside the border station in El Paso greet VP Kamala Harris
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 25, 2021
The Friday trip likely occurred because former President Donald Trump will be in south Texas next week with Gov. Greg Abbott. Harris quickly blamed the prior administration for the ongoing crisis, saying, “We inherited a tough situation.”
Traveling alongside Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and progressive Rep. Veronica Escobar, the vice president toured a processing center, spoke to legal service providers and NGO advocates, then briefly addressed reporters at El Paso International Airport.
Harris claimed there’s progress in tackling the migration surge and mentioned “root causes” — food insecurity, poverty and climate, among them — several dozen times, while promising an “orderly and humane” overall process. She then departed shortly after noon local time on a plane closed to press.
While various administration officials have visited the border this year, the absence of President Joe Biden and Harris has troubled Democrats who serve in the belly of the beast and whose constituents suffer the consequences of illegal immigration.
“The administration is making Democrats look weak. I’ve heard, from Democrats and Republicans in my area, what the heck is going on with this administration?” Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who represents a border district but did not receive advance notice of Harris’s visit, said this week.
“The epicenter is down there in the Lower Rio Grande, the lower part of my district down there. If you look at the numbers that are down there compared to El Paso, you are not going to get a true picture of what’s happening. You go to the Donna facility, you go to Roma, Texas, you go to Rio Grande City, you go to the McAllen area so you can get an idea of what’s happening down at the border,” he continued.
The Democrats’ lurch left and apathy about solving this issue is also causing the party to lose Latino support.
Biden’s first 22 weeks in office have seen record numbers of migrants crossing the Mexico–United States border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded nearly 200,000 encounters on the southern border in May, the most in over 20 years. It was announced Friday that more than 1 million migrants have been arrested for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
“It was a huge flop,” Rep. Tony Gonzalez, R-Texas, a former U.S. Navy officer who oversees the largest border district in America, said Friday. “The border crisis is always shifting and moving. She just parachuted in. You can’t land somewhere, talk to somebody for a few hours, and become an expert. You have to dedicate time and effort. I hope this is the first of many visits here to really tackle the problem.”