Politics Mayorkas says it is 'unfair' to criticize Harris on the border
Harris defends telling migrants 'do not come,' not visiting US-Mexico border
Vice President Kamala Harris is facing backlash from conservatives for not having visited the southern border and from progressives for telling immigrants "Do not come." Harris, currently on the second half of a two-day visit to Guatemala and Mexico, has been facing backlash from conservatives for not visiting the southern border since President Joe Biden tasked her with an immigration role in March, when a record-breaking number of unaccompanied minors were crossing the southern border. Now, she is hearing new criticism from progressives for using her international spotlight in Guatemala on Monday to tell immigrants, "Do not come.
South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman tore into Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday when he suggested it was 'quite unfair' to criticizefor not visiting the border.
The Biden administration announced Harris would be the 'border czar' 86 days ago, but she still hasn't been to the wall and has been under scrutiny for her visit toand Guatemala two weeks ago to address the 'root causes' of migration.
Norman started the House Homeland Security Committee hearing by asking Mayorkas whether Harris should visit the border.
Who is Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Mexican president who met with Kamala Harris today?
Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador meets with Harris Tuesday as she leads efforts to stem illegal immigration at the southern border.The Vice President met with community organizers, business owners and Presidents Alejandro Giammattei and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the leaders of Guatemala and Mexico, respectively. In March, President Joe Biden tasked Harris with addressing an increase in migration — including unaccompanied minors — at the southern border.
'I consider that question to be quite unfair,' Mayorkas replied.
'You're comments are just words, and they're very unfair,' Norman said. 'I asked you a simple question, and I would like for you to just answer simply.
'Does it make sense for the leaders of the free world to go in to talk and see what's going on at the border?
Mayorkas responded by saying that Harris was the attorney general of a border state, California, and was 'quite familiar with the situation'.
'But she's laughing at it!' Norman fired back. 'It's an insult to say that you're looking at the border wall … what do you have to look at? You're not building it'.
Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz also criticized the Biden administration's response to the border crisis on Friday, saying they are 'quite simply' not doing their jobs and are failing to enforce the law.
'Her instinct is to dig in': Kamala Harris' struggles to answer border question seen as part of a pattern
Several allies and former aides to Vice President Kamala Harris had "flashbacks" last week as they watched her fumble a politically sensitive question during her first foreign trip, seeing the misstep as part of a broader pattern of messaging challenges that have dogged her since her presidential campaign. © Jacquelyn Martin/AP Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the media, Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at the Sofitel Mexico City Reforma in Mexico City.
As they conducted their hearing, more migrants continued crossing the Rio Grande near Roma, Texas, to begin their bid for asylum.
Photos showed men, women and children in rafts and wading in the water in the dead of night, trying to reach the US.
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The tense exchange Norman and Mayorkas also came off the back of criticism over Kamala's visit to Guatemala and Mexico and her testy responses to questions over whether she would visit the wall - that the Biden administration has vowed not to continue building.
In an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, she laughed when he asked why she hadn't visited the border.
'And I haven't been to Europe either,' she responded.
Last Wednesday, Customs and Border Protection released figures that show illegal crossings have exploded by 674 per cent in a year.
Border guards confronted 180,034 migrants in May - the fourth consecutive monthly rise.
The figures show the number of migrants rocketed by more than six-fold from the 23,237 who crossed from Mexico into the United States in May 2020.
Last year's number was far lower than usual because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but this year's figures still spell worrying news for Joe Biden, with 2021 on-track to record the highest number of illegal border crossings since 2006.
Single adults still represented the majority of border-crossers, data from the U.S. Border Patrol showed.
US and Mexico seek ways to do more on irregular immigration
MEXICO CITY (AP) — In consecutive visits this month, Vice President Kamala Harris and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have conveyed to the most important U.S. partner that the Biden administration is taking a more nuanced approach to immigration than its predecessor, but still asking what more Mexico can do. Mayorkas said Tuesday at the conclusion of two days of high-level meetings: “We have challenged one another with respect to what more can each of us do to address the level of irregular migration that has persisted for several months.” In May, encounters with migrants at the U.S.
In May there was a decrease in the number of unaccompanied minors, from roughly 16,910 to 13,906, Border Patrol found.
CBP also said that a majority of those who crossed the border were already expelled due to Title 42, which allows the U.S. government to quickly remove people using the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the 180,034 crossers, 112,302 had already been expelled.
CBP also pointed out,, that Title 42 is leading people to try to cross the border more than once, which could also factor into the high numbers.
that preliminary CBP data from the fiscal year 2021 showed that illegal crossings have been the most since 2006 - with four months still to go.
Harris' trip was meant to focus on the 'root causes' of migration that have led to families and unaccompanied children heading north to the border.
But she made a series of seemingly conflicting statements about her decision not to visit the border and enraged progressives by telling migrants: 'Do not come'.
'I have visited the border,' says DHS Secretary in testy exchange over VP Kamala Harris' role
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas declared it is his responsibly to manage security at the US-Mexico border, snapping back during a tense exchange with a GOP lawmaker on the House Homeland Security Committee at a budget hearing Thursday morning. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in March.
By the end of her trip, at a press conference in Mexico City with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Harris insisted the trip was a success.
'Listen, I've been to the border before and I'll go again,' she said.
She also hinted that a border trip would be 'short-sighted', but did promise to visit without giving a date.
CNN reported that officials were concerned within the administration that whatever progress Harris had made on the leader-to-leader level might have been undermined by her conflicting answers and PR missteps.
'It's left some of the administration officials perplexed, and the vice president's team frustrated,' the network Wednesday.
'There was hope the trip would be a success, and in the end, they feel it may have been overshadowed by some of her answers to these questions,' the network reported.
She also snapped at reporters a few times when questioned about a border visit. Among those asking about it was a CNN correspondent. Fox News correspondents have been hounding the White House on the topic for weeks, so it was unlikely to have surprised her team.
At the same news conference where she said she would go to the border, Harris also shrugged off the idea.
I think it's short-sighted, for any of us who are in the business of problem solving to suggest we're only going to respond to the reaction as opposed to addressing the cause,' she said.
It echoed her earlier comments in Guatemala, where she characterized such a visit as being for show.
'I came here to be here on the ground, to speak with the leader of this nation around what we can do in a way that is significant, is tangible and has real results,' she said.
'And I will continue to be focused on that kind of work as opposed to grand gestures.'
There is an element of showmanship in any foreign trip – and Harris was not shy about calling her own first foreign foray a victory.
'Do I declare this trip a success? Yes I do,' she said.
Chris Wallace Says Kamala Harris Proposed 'No Answers' on Immigrant 'Flood' After Border Trip .
"Well, we did hear one solution. And that is that nobody is going to be able to ask Kamala Harris, 'why haven't you been to the border yet,'" the Fox News host said Saturday.Harris, who Republican critics for months mockingly called "border czar," toured a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility Friday before she met with staff and five migrant girls aged nine to sixteen. Harris described the migrants she met at the border as hopeful and optimistic. GOP lawmakers have blasted President Joe Biden and Harris since they entered the White House for seemingly avoiding the surge in migrants at the border.