Harris to Travel to U.S.-Mexico Border After GOP Criticism
(Bloomberg) -- Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday, after weeks of pressure from Republicans to personally visit as part of her portfolio to slow the flow of migrants.
Harris will go to El Paso, Texas, on Friday along with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, according to a statement from her office. Harris previously traveled to Guatemala and Mexico, saying that migration will only ease when root causes driving it also subside.
President Joe Biden assigned Harris earlier this year to lead U.S. efforts to curb a surge in migration from Central America. Migration across the border -- particularly by unaccompanied teens -- was an early political flashpoint for the Biden administration, which had to race to house detainees as border facilities filled to or beyond capacity at the height of the pandemic.
“We’re at this point because we have made a great deal of progress,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Republicans have accused Biden of not doing enough to clamp down on asylum seekers. Former President Donald Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott plan to visit the border next week, and Trump accused Harris of scheduling her trip in response.
“If Governor Abbott and I weren’t going there next week, she would have never gone,” Trump said in a statement.
Psaki said the decision on the visit was made internally and based on when it would be appropriate.
Migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras -- the three countries responsible for the majority of people detained on the southern border -- was ticking up months before Biden took office, driven by economic and social disparities between Central America and the U.S. that were exacerbated by the pandemic.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.