Harris says she’ll visit Mexico and Guatemala soon
▶ Watch Video: Kamala Harris to lead efforts to stem migration at southern border
Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters Wednesday that she’ll visit Mexico and Guatemala soon — several weeks after President Biden tapped her to lead the administration’s efforts to address migration at the southern border by focusing on the Northern Triangle countries and Mexico.
Harris has been on the receiving end of criticism from Republicans for having not yet traveled to the border or Central American nations contributing to the increased flow of migrants. The number of migrants trying to cross the border has soared in recent months, and some facilities holding migrants are filled far past capacity, despite the still raging pandemic. Reporters recently had a chance to look inside a facility in Donna, Texas, holding 16 times more migrants than its capacity during the pandemic.
It isn’t yet clear exactly when Harris will make the trip to Mexico and Guatemala or whether she will visit the border. When Mr. Biden tapped Harris for the role, he said she would be working on “two tracks” — first on the goal of stemming the flow of irregular migrants to the U.S., and establishing a strategic partnership with the nations within her purview.
At the same time, White House press secretary Jen Psaki made it clear Harris’ responsibility is not the border necessarily, but the Northern Triangle countries and Mexico. When Mr. Biden announced she would oversee the Northern Triangle nations, Harris told “CBS This Morning” it’s important to address the “root causes” of the high numbers of migrants trying to cross the border.
“In addition to the border, we also need to deal with the root causes,” Harris said. “We need to deal with what’s happening in the Northern Triangle and address it in a way that is about not only diplomacy but bringing our allies together.” Harris said. “Dealing with what we need to do around aid in a way that is about developing those countries so that we also deal with the cause of why people are coming into our country.”
Multiple congressional delegations have taken trips to the southern border and migrant facilities recently to survey the situation and get a firsthand glimpse of the facilities where families and children are staying.