Since she was tasked nearly a month ago with addressing the surge of undocumented immigrants along the nation’s border, Vice President Kamala Harris has faced criticism for taking a hands-off approach.
After dismissing calls for her to visit the southern border and declining to hold an immigration-related press conference, Harris has finally announced that she will be making a trip to Central America.
“Aren’t going to be addressed overnight”
According to Fox News, the vice president confirmed during a security roundtable on Wednesday that she would be going to the Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, noting that she would also be stopping in Mexico.
Harris is set to be accompanied by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, whom Harris credited for his hard work on the border problem.
“I have been asked to lead the issue of dealing with root causes in the Northern Triangle, similar to what the then-Vice President did many years ago,” Harris said. “But I will tell you these are issues that aren’t going to be addressed overnight.”
Her announcement came after weeks of criticism from many in the GOP over her perceived inaction. She previously sparked outrage after responding with a laugh when a reporter asked if she had any plans to visit the border.
Former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf voiced skepticism regarding whether Harris is even qualified to effectively address the issue.
“The dire circumstances that many are fleeing from”
“You can’t talk to Northern Triangle countries, or to Mexican officials, without understanding the pressures and the situation and atmosphere on the border,” he said during a recent press conference.
Although President Joe Biden and multiple top administration officials have declined to call the border situation a crisis, Biden did use the word on Sunday when talking to reporters.
The following day, however, White House press secretary Jen Psaki attempted to walk back that admission.
“The president does not feel that children coming to our border seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances is a crime,” she said.
Psaki went on to assert that Biden “does feel that the current crisis in Central America, the dire circumstances that many are fleeing from, that that is a situation we need to spend our time, our effort on, and we need to address it if we’re going to prevent more of an influx of migrants from coming in years to come.”