President Joe Biden made news more than a week ago when he named Vice President Kamala Harris the leader of diplomatic efforts to an ongoing influx of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.
While the Biden administration later clarified that her role would be somewhat less robust than early reports indicated, Harris has yet to hold a press conference to discuss the immigration issue or her plans to address it, as Fox News reports.
“Not doing the border”
During a meeting at the White House on March 24 with top immigration officials, the president tapped Harris for the leadership role, insisting at the time that “she’s the most qualified person to do it” and furthering speculation that the vice president is taking an outsized role behind the scenes.
“When she speaks, she speaks for me,” Biden said, according to a White House transcript. “Doesn’t have to check with me. She knows what she’s doing, and I hope we can move this along.”
Just two days later, however, one of the vice president’s top aides clarified the scope of her duties, stating that Harris “is not doing the border.”
Instead, according to the Associated Press, Harris spokesperson Symone Sanders said that the VP would lead diplomatic discussions with relevant nations including Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle — El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in an effort to address the “root causes” of a spike in immigration.
Regardless of how much control she ultimately takes of the border crisis, Harris clearly needs to field legitimate questions about her plans, findings, and concerns.
“She should be held accountable”
One potential reason for her reticence to address reporters during her first week in the new position could stem from reports that her response could serve as a political “hand grenade” with the risk of blowing up in her face and sullying her political reputation.
Nevertheless, the complexity of the issue does not excuse Harris from facing direct questions about border security and immigration policies. As Fox News reported, critics are increasingly concerned that the mainstream media is effectively allowing Harris to “hide” and avoid providing answers on these important topics.
“As the person put in charge of the border crisis, Harris should be answering questions about how the Biden/Harris administration has young migrant children packed into ‘cages’ and enclosures, creating not only humanitarian relief problems, but also COVID superspreader locations,” Cornell Law professor and media critic William Jacobson asserted, according to Fox.
He went on to claim that “the mainstream liberal media” allowed both Biden and Harris “to get away with hiding” throughout the presidential campaign.
In a similar statement, DePauw University professor Jeffrey McCall, also a media critic, reportedly said: “She now is supposed to be managing various aspects of the border crisis, but it is still rather unclear about exactly what her duties and responsibilities are. Once Biden handed the border baton off to Harris, it would seem she should be held accountable to explain her role and the strategies she plans to implement.”