Kamala Harris takes immigration victory lap, despite record crossings
With an unprecedented crisis brewing at the southern border, Kamala Harris is taking a victory lap.
Harris' strategy, if it can be called one, has been to throw money at abstract "root causes" in poor Central American countries in the hope of disincentivizing emigration.
The vice president announced private companies working with the administration are investing another $1 billion to stabilize countries in the so-called Northern Triangle.
Harris takes immigration victory lap
The new investments from companies like Target and Nestle bring the total to $4.2 billion. According to Harris, the strategy is working.
"These investments have created jobs. These investments have increased access to the financial system, including to the Internet," she said.
"Our root causes strategy and these investments represent a long term development effort, but we are already beginning to see positive trends," she added.
While immigration from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador has ticked down somewhat, southern border crossings have continued to hit historic records, with over 2.3 million in 2022 alone.
Ignoring the issue
Skeptics say Harris is ignoring the crux of the problem: lax immigration enforcement in the United States.
"Things like this take time. It’s dishonest to promote this as a short-term or even a medium-term solution to migration,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “Even if this succeeds, it won’t pay off for decades.”
Harris was tapped to be the Biden administration's "border czar" in early 2021. She has been to the border just once, and her visit was widely panned as an opportunistic photo-op aimed at quieting criticism.
To Harris' credit, President Biden is ultimately responsible for securing the border, and he has completely failed in that regard -- some say purposefully. Like her boss, Harris is passing the buck to Congress.
"Ultimately, we need Congress to pass legislation that both enhances border security but fixes our broken immigration system. We are a nation of immigrants," Harris said.
It's unlikely many will find Harris's spin on immigration convincing, with even Democrats airing doubts about what, exactly, she has been doing the past two years.
“I can’t think of one thing she’s done except stay out of the way and stand beside him at certain ceremonies,” one Democratic donor told the New York Times.