U.S. Vice President Harris slams migration after first international trip


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WASHINGTON: Returning Wednesday June 9 from her first international mission as U.S. Vice President, Kamala Harris was criticized by Republican critics accusing her of not taking the migration crisis seriously enough, but also by frustrated vocal progressives by border policy.

The two-sided stacking reflects the protracted and difficult nature of the U.S. immigration problem, which has plagued U.S. administrations for decades.

But Harris’ trip to Guatemala and Mexico, in which she appeared to casually answer questions about why she has not yet visited the southern U.S. border for a field assessment, marks her biggest stumble since becoming President Joe Biden’s deputy. .

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, called his trip a “missed opportunity.”

“It avoids the point of failure of our immigration system, which is at the border,” Cornyn told AFP on Wednesday at the United States Capitol.

Less than a decade ago then-President Barack Obama faced a humanitarian crisis at the border and struggled to apply the most effective response to thousands of people – including unaccompanied minors – fleeing violence and poverty in their country of origin.

His successor Donald Trump has vowed to build a border wall and has been criticized by critics for controversial detentions.

Now Biden has failed in dealing with illegal immigration and critics smell blood in the water – especially after a series of responses from Harris to questions about why she has yet to visit the US border. -Mexican since the president entrusted her with the immigration portfolio.

In Guatemala, she said she would remain focused on the root causes of illegal migration – poverty and crime – rather than the “big gestures” of a hypothetical border visit.

In an interview with NBC, things got tense. When Harris said “we have gone to the border,” the reporter noted that she had not yet visited in person as vice president.

“And I haven’t been to Europe,” she retorted, before bursting into a nervous laugh. The exchange drew heavy criticism from Republicans.

‘OPPOSITE’ MESSAGING

Detentions of undocumented travelers along the US-Mexico border, including unaccompanied minors, peaked in 15 years in April.

Almost 180,000 people were intercepted, more than 80% of them from Mexico or the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has been criticized by Republican lawmakers – and some progressives in her own Democratic Party – during her trip to Central America and Mexico to deal with the immigration crisis. (Photo: AFP / Alfredo Estrella)

Harris arrived in Guatemala on Sunday, where she issued a strong warning to potential migrants: “Do not come” to the United States.

But it also brought the Biden administration’s promise of a more humane immigration policy – in stark contrast to Trump’s “zero tolerance” approach that is favored by Republicans.

“Everything Joe and Kamala have done sent the exact opposite message” to Harris’ “don’t come” remark, Republican Senator Ted Cruz told Fox News on Tuesday.

“We have seen in the five months that they are in power, an absolute disaster unfold at the border” without any will to solve the problem, said the senator from Texas.

He noted the increase in undocumented arrivals, the end by Biden of his predecessor’s “Stay in Mexico” program and the refusal to stop the practice of capturing and releasing low-risk migrants allowed to stay in the country. United States pending immigration hearings.

Harris “has literally flown twice our southern border”, lamented to AFP another Republican, Senator James Lankford, believing that the vice-president should have stopped “to get an idea on the ground of this is actually happening “.

While Harris urged the migrants not to make the perilous journey north, “Biden’s policies said otherwise,” Lankford noted.

But those same “don’t come” remarks from Harris upset those on the left flank of his party.

“Disappointing,” is how Liberal House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described Harris’ warning.

“This whole ‘stay here and die’ approach is not how our country is going to promote a more humane and fairer immigration system,” tweeted MP Rashida Tlaib.

The White House, meanwhile, offered Harris its languid support, saying his trip to the Northern Triangle to tackle the root causes of illegal migration was “exactly what the president asked him to do.”

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, who chairs the Western Hemisphere subcommittee on foreign relations, said it was “really important” for Harris to visit Guatemala and Mexico to show the administration’s commitment to fight against illegal immigration.

Kaine played down criticisms of Harris, who was once California attorney general, as unfair opportunistic accusations.

“I imagine she knows a lot more about the border than some of the people who criticize her,” Kaine said.

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