Vice President Kamala Harris recently announced she still does not have plans to travel to the southern U.S. border even after President Joe Biden tapped her to lead the White House response to the border crisis. Instead, she plans to visit some of the countries in Central America to address what she says are the “root causes” of the influx of illegal border crossings.
“We also have to deal with the root causes otherwise we are just in a perpetual system of only dealing with the symptoms,” Harris said on Wednesday. “So our focus is to deal with the root causes and I’m looking forward to traveling hopefully as my first trip to the northern triangle stopping in Mexico and then going to Guatemala sometime soon.”
Vice President Kamala Harris is leading the effort to address the root causes of migration to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America. The VP says she hopes to visit the region “sometime soon.” https://t.co/h6H8NjKMnE pic.twitter.com/37u0LaPLNr
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 14, 2021
Since her appointment to oversee migration, Harris’s avoidance of the border has received criticism from multiple people including Republican representatives and senators. While a record-setting number of migrants including at least 18,890 unaccompanied teens and children crossed the border illegally and came into Border Patrol custody last month, some such as Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Lousiana have repeatedly targeted Harris for ignoring the overcrowded border shelters susceptible to COVID-19 outbreaks.
House Republicans display Kamala Harris milk carton at news conference: ‘Missing at the border’ https://t.co/K3P9oHOZkU
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 14, 2021
The criticism follows years of rhetoric spewed by Harris against former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. When Harris ran in the Democrat primary for the 2020 presidential election, she took a hardline approach against the “kids in cages at the border” narrative from the media and even based some of her platform on ending the detention of migrants by the U.S. government.
In June 2019, Harris slammed the Trump administration for detaining migrant children. In her speech to reporters and activists, the presidential candidate proclaimed that keeping children detained is a “human rights abuse” and that she would make it a priority to “shut down these private detention facilities.”
Detaining these children at the border is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government. pic.twitter.com/aKDfadLDp4
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 28, 2019
Harris repeated the same rhetoric about detention facilities in a July 2019 tweet.
“This president has created a culture where people think it’s okay to vilify immigrants and their families. Now we’re seeing human rights abuses being committed by our government at our southern border. #CloseTheCamps,” she wrote.
Shortly after, Harris passionately stated from the Democratic debate stage that migrant children should not be “incarcerated as though they have committed crimes.”
“They would not let us [members of Congress] enter the place,” Harris explained, saying she had to climb a ladder to see inside of the facility. “I saw children lined up single-file based on gender being walked into barracks. The policies of this administration have been facilitated by laws that allow them to be incarcerated as though they have committed crimes. These children have not committed crimes and should be not treated like criminals.”
The Biden administration has consistently refused to allow both reporters and elected members of Congress into the migrant camps it now controls.
This is from July 9, 2019. https://t.co/1VxqzxpxOU
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) April 14, 2021
Harris’s abrupt flip-flop on the border is just another way the Biden administration is trying to minimize what they have refused to label a border crisis. Despite Biden and the White House’s attempts to claim that the border surge is normal and “seasonal,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection took more than 172,000 illegal aliens into custody in March, making it the busiest month for the agency in more than 20 years.