Since President Joe Biden tasked her with a leading role in addressing the migrant surge along the U.S.-Mexico border, Vice President Kamala Harris has faced mounting criticism that she has failed to treat the situation with the urgency it demands.
In remarks on Tuesday, she acknowledged the border problem but declined to spend much time focused on potentially inconvenient root causes.
“If corruption in the region persists”
She recognized the “alarming” rate of immigration from Central American during her recent speech, choosing to dwell on various underlying issues without mentioning the impact of Biden’s policies.
Without uttering the word “crisis,” Harris told the annual Washington Conference on the Americas that immigrants from “El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras are leaving their homes at alarming rates.”
She laid out her goals as part of a monumental task, vowing to address corruption, poverty, and extreme weather, each of which she claimed is a factor in driving migrants toward the U.S.
“No matter how much effort we put in on curbing violence, providing disaster relief, on tackling food insecurity — on any of it — we will not make significant progress if corruption in the region persists,” Harris said.
In keeping with her approach thus far, the vice president shied away from mentioning the border crisis itself.
Passing the buck
For weeks, she has attracted criticism for her reluctance to visit the border, opting to opine about the factors the Biden administration says are pushing individuals to leave their home countries instead of lax immigration policies that serve to draw an increased number of immigrants toward the border.
Harris also pointed out that the White House is sending $310 million in foreign aid to the region, unlike the Trump administration, which used foreign aid to negotiate cooperation among Central American nations to control immigration rates.
The latest political spin is nothing new, fueling speculation that the Biden administration might be creating a task too big to solve with the intention of absolving itself of responsibility for the crisis being created at home.
Biden and Harris seem willing to discuss almost any cause of the immigration surge, it seems, with the exception of their own policies.