Vice President Kamala Harris, who is in charge of the Biden administration’s attempts to address the current immigration crisis, has not visited the US-Mexico border, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, because her attention is on “root causes” of migration and she is mainly “working on a diplomatic level.”
The vice president has come under fire this week for failing to visit the border or even hold a news conference about the current crisis in the more than a month since President Joe Biden charged her with “stemming the migration.”
Thousands of unaccompanied minors have been kept in crowded, cage-like conditions at the border in recent months, while tens of thousands of adult migrants have been released back into the United States, potentially without court dates under the administration’s catch-and-release strategy.
The border spike, which has caught the Biden administration off guard, is undoubtedly what prompted Harris’ appointment. However, the White House now appears to be intent on recasting Harris’ position in order to avoid drawing attention to the border.
In response to a query about Harris’ absence from the border from Fox News reporter Peter Doocy during Monday’s White House press briefing, Psaki stated flatly that Harris’ “focus is not on the border.”
“It’s on addressing the root causes in the Northern Triangle,” she added. “That’s why the majority of her time has been spent on working on a diplomatic level.”
The press secretary continued, “She is going to have a bilateral meeting with the president of Guatemala this afternoon. She’s going to speak with the president of Mexico next week, and she’s working with them to ensure there are systems put in place to reduce the amount of migration coming from these countries, but also to address the root causes,”. “And that’s really what the president asked her to do.”
Although Harris has not yet traveled to the border to see the end effects of the “root causes” she claims to be tackling, she has found time for travels across the United States.
She was in New Hampshire over the weekend, for example, to support President Obama’s $2 trillion infrastructure initiative. During her visit, a local reporter asked her to respond to Republican criticisms that she had failed to visit the border despite heading to New Hampshire to promote domestic policy.