Joe Biden praised Kamala Harris on Thursday for her work ‘at the border’ just two days ahead of her first trip there as criticism mounts over her failure to visit the U.S.-Mexico border in her first 90 days in charge of the crisis.
‘Mr. President, what are you hoping the Vice President can do at the border tomorrow?’ a reporter asked Biden at the end of short remarks on infrastructure followed by a press conference on Thursday.
‘She’s done a great job so far,’ Biden said with Harris by his side as he walked halfway out of the room.
‘And the reason why it’s important that she go down, she’s now set up the criteria – having spoken with the president of Mexico and Guatemala, visited the region – to know what we need to do,’ he added.
Harris will take her first trip to survey the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico on Friday – even though she was named ‘border czar’ by the White House in March.
The vice president traveled to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month to address ‘root causes’, but received a slew of backlash from both parties for making a joke of not yet going to the border during her trip.
Harris announced her trip on Wednesday. She will visit El Paso, Texas with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
She will beat Donald Trump to the region by five days, even though the former president announced his trips eight days before Harris did her’s.
President Joe Biden (left) said Thursday that he thinks Vice President Kamala Harris (right) has done a ‘great job’ addressing the border crisis – even though she has not yet visited the region
Harris on Friday will make her first trip to the border since Biden put her in charge of the crisis in March
Trump announced last week that he accepted Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s invitation to visit the border.
The former president took credit for Harris’ impending visit, claiming if he and Abbott were not going next week, she would not have scheduled her own trip.
Abbott blasted Harris for ‘ignoring the real problem’ at the border.
‘Vice President Harris is ignoring the real problem areas along our southern border that are not protected by the border wall and are being overrun by the federal government’s ill-thought-out open border policies,’ he wrote in a statement following the announcement on Wednesday.
‘She will fail in her mission if she refuses to speak to residents of the Del Rio sector whose homes and ranches are being overrun by gangs and smugglers,’ he continued. ‘The Vice President was named Border Czar over 90 days ago, and in that time Texans have had their homes broken into, property damaged, and guns pointed at their heads as cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers profit off the Biden Administration’s reckless open-border policies.’
Abbott said: ‘Texas has been and continues to step up to protect Texans and Americans.’
When DailyMail.com reached out to Abbott for whether he will meet with Harris during her trip on Friday, the office forwarded the above statement.
Harris’ office announced the trip Wednesday – following three months of criticism from Republicans and some Democrats after she was put in charge of addressing the mass migration crisis.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott blasted Kamala Harris as ‘ignoring the real problem areas’ of the border crisis on Wednesday after she announced she will finally make the trek to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday
Abbott said the vice president’s trip will be a failure if she does not talk with residents of Texas who have been afflicted by mass migration, including having ‘their homes broken into, property damaged, and guns pointed at their heads’ by ‘cartels, smugglers and human traffickers’
For months, the White House insisted Harris’ role as ‘border czar’ was specifically to address ‘root causes’ of migration in Northern Triangle countries and not specifically the U.S.-Mexico border.
That excuse didn’t fly with Republicans who pressured the vice president for 90 days to visit the border if she actually cared about fixing the problem.
Abbott will meet with Trump during his trip to the southern border on Wednesday, which was announced eight days before the White House revealed Harris’ impending trip.
In fact, it was the Republican governor who invited the former president to join him in surveying the border area the Lone Star State shares with Mexico – and where the majority of illegal encounters occur.
Trump took credit for Harris’ change of heart, claiming she would not have scheduled a visit to the southern border unless he announced his own trip there next week.
‘After months of ignoring the crisis at the Southern Border, it is great that we got Kamala Harris to finally go and see the tremendous destruction and death that they’ve created—a direct result of Biden ending my very tough but fair Border policies,’ Trump celebrated in a statement from his Save America political action committee email on Wednesday.
‘Harris and Biden were given the strongest Border in American history. And now, it is by far the worst in American history,’ he continued. ‘If Governor Abbott and I weren’t going there next week, she would have never gone!’
Rather than visiting the border in her 90 days as a czar, Harris took a trip to Guatemala and Mexico last month to address ‘root causes’ after five straight months of increases in migrant crossings.
President Joe Biden put Harris in charge of the migration crisis in March, which quickly turned her into the person to blame for the massive spike.
Just two days ahead of Harris’ trip, 21 House Republicans, led by Colorado’s Lauren Boebert, introduced a bill to censure Biden over his failure to secure the U.S. border in his more than five months as president.
Donald Trump will visit Texas next Wednesday alongside Abbott and at least 12 Republican House members . The former president departs from Trump Tower in Washington D.C. on Tuesday
Immigrants walk toward border patrol after crossing the Rio Grande into the U.S. on Monday
‘President Biden passed the buck to cackling Kamala, when he tapped Ms. Harris as border czar. Her work on the border is nonexistence, it’s a joke – and even she laughs. But it’s not funny,’ Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert said in announcing the censure on Wednesday.
‘This administration has not lifted a finger to end this crisis and secure our southern border,’ she continued. ‘They must be held accountable.
He claimed in a statement Wednesday that Harris is only giving into pressure to visit the border now because he announced his own impending trip.
About a dozen members of the Republican Study Committee, the largest group of House Republicans, will also join Trump on the trip, Politico reported.
Representative Jim Banks, the head of the Republican Study Group and a lawmaker joining Trump in Texas said: ‘The dual trips offer a great split-screen.’
‘President Trump is the greatest immigration president of our lifetime who devoted four years to fixing the border to protect Americans’ lives and livelihoods,’ he wrote in a Wednesday statement. ‘Kamala Harris is the border czar for an administration that created a national embarrassment and has taken no effort to stop it.’
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing Wednesday that the trip is part of a ‘coordinated effort’ to address ‘root causes’ of mass migration from Northern Triangle countries to the U.S.
‘Earlier this year, as you all know, the president asked the vice president to oversee our diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, to Guatemala and Honduras and as a part of this work she recently traveled to Guatemala and Mexico last month. This trip to the border on Friday will be a part of this effort,’ Psaki said.
She also reiterated previous comments where she and Harris have both said that the vice president would make a trip to the border when the timing was ‘appropriate.’
A migrant family seeking asylum arrives on U.S. soil after crossing the Rio Grande on June 19, 2021 in Roma, Texas
Harris’ senior advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders said in a statement on the visit: ‘Vice President Harris will travel to El Paso, Texas on Friday, June 25,’ ‘She will be accompanied by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.’
‘Vice President Harris will travel to El Paso, Texas on Friday, June 25,’ Harris’ senior advisor and Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders said in a statement on the visit on Wednesday. ‘She will be accompanied by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.’
‘Earlier this year, the President asked the Vice President to oversee our diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,’ she continued. ‘As a part of this ongoing work, the Vice President traveled to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month and will travel to El Paso on Friday.’
Republicans have slammed Harris for not making the trip yet.
‘It reminds me of that old show, ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ She’ll go everywhere except the border because she’s afraid of what’s going on down there, and they have no solutions,’ Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told Fox & Friends.
Harris took her first trip abroad earlier this month to Guatemala and Mexico to meet with government and community leaders about the migrants flowing into the U.S.
In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt from Guatemala, Harris was asked why she hadn’t visited the border. ‘Why not see what Americans are seeing in this crisis?’ the newsman asked.
She first answered that why there’s ‘no question’ about the White House having to deal with what’s happening at the border ‘we have to understand that there’s a reason people are arriving at our border and ask what is that reason and then identify the problem so we can fix it.’
This chart shows how 2021 border crossings – pictured in blue – rocketed on crossings made in 2020, represented by the brown line (2018 is pictured in gray, with 2019 in orange)
This graph shows the number of migrants caught by the Office of Field Operation (OFO) and US Border Patrol agents in April and May
Holt then asked if Harris had any plans to visit the border.
‘At some point, you know, we are going to the border. We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border, we’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border,’ she responded.
Holt pointed out, ‘You haven’t been to the border.’
‘And I haven’t been to Europe,’ the vice president said. ‘And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.’
The response was widely panned.
Harris later snapped at Univision reporter Ilia Calderon, the day after she returned from the trip, telling her ‘I’ve not finished,’ as Calderon pressed when there might be a border trip.
Harris has been given seven roles in Biden’s administration – including the border crisis
‘I’ve said I’m going to the border. And also, if we are going to deal with the problems at the border, we have to deal with the problems that cause people to go to the border – to flee to the border. And that is the root causes,’ Harris said, justifying her first foreign trip being to Guatemala and Mexico.
Biden has loaded Harris down with seven jobs – including running point on migration.
On Monday, Harris was tasked with selling Biden’s Child Tax Credit, with a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In early June, the vice president received her fifth and sixth jobs, as the president asked her to go on a vaccine education tour and handle the administration’s efforts to protect voting rights.
Harris was on Capitol Hill Tuesday and presided over Senate Democrats’ failed vote to start debate on a voting rights measure.
Migrant embrace relatives in ‘Hugs, No Walls’ at the border between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico on June 19, 2021
She’s also handling the issues of broadband and space and also leading a pro-union taskforce that would take a ‘whole-of-government approach to empower workers.’
In late March, Biden announced he had tapped Harris to lead the effort to stem migration coming from the Northern Triangle countries – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – and up through Mexico.
Harris, he said, ‘agreed to lead our diplomatic effort to work with those nations.’
Very quickly Harris became a target for Republicans as border crossings soared and she didn’t travel to the border to see the conditions on the ground.
In mid-April, Psaki said the ‘confusion’ surrounding Harris’ role with the migrant crisis is ‘perplexing,’ arguing immigration policy has never been a ‘one-woman’ job.
Psaki also pointed out that Biden, as vice president, had essentially played the same role during the Obama years.