Remember when Vice President Kamala Harris was supposed to be working with Central American nations to stop the border crisis?
It’s been eight days since she was put into that role. She’s purportedly working with countries in the so-called Northern Triangle — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — as well as Mexico.
“There’s no question that this is a challenging situation,” Harris said last week, according to USA Today.
“While we are clear that people should not come to the border now, we also understand that we will enforce the law, and that we also, because we can chew gum and walk at the same time, must address the root causes that cause people to make the trek.”
They can chew gum and walk at the same time, but apparently not while holding news conferences — since, as Fox News pointed out Wednesday, Harris hasn’t held one since she’s been in charge.
And there’s a bit to address. After all, when her role was announced, the White House said she wouldn’t be involved in the border crisis directly, but instead would be addressing the “root causes — not the border.”
While you can’t address the root causes of illegal immigration in one week, we might, say, want an update on how things are going, particularly since the situation is a fast-moving one.
Honduras, in particular, remains an issue. On Tuesday, a small caravan was dispersed by Honduran police as it approached the border of Guatemala, which had called a “state of prevention” to stop the caravan from coming through. Furthermore, it has a president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, that stands accused of drug trafficking, according to ABC News.
And then there’s the fact that, as Politico noted, “Harris’ exact role hasn’t been fully laid out publicly.”
“Though senior administration officials keep hammering home that Harris isn’t in charge of the administration’s overall immigration agenda or activity at the border, Symone Sanders, Harris’ senior advisor and chief spokesperson, told reporters Friday that the vice president received an ‘extensive briefing on the northern triangle and Latin America’ and would be ‘speaking with leaders from the region in the near future.’”
Reporters also might want to ask about where the responsibility lies and whether President Joe Biden’s administration is ready to take any of it.
Last week, when Biden announced Harris was taking the point on the issue, he said this was Donald Trump’s problem, but they would clean it up.
“So this new surge we’re dealing with now started with the last administration, but it’s our responsibility to deal with it humanely and to — and to stop what’s happening,” Biden said, according to Fox News.
“And so, this increase has been consequential, but the vice president has agreed — among the multiple other things that I have her leading — and I appreciate it — agreed to lead our diplomatic effort and work with those nations to accept re- — the returnees, and enhance migration enforcement at their borders — at their borders.”
He also made it clear Harris was the voice of the administration on the matter.
“When she speaks, she speaks for me, doesn’t have to check with me,” Biden said, according to USA Today.
“She knows what she’s doing, and I hope we can move this along.”
Right. We all do. But we need to hear about how this is moving along, correct?
This is important, as this is Harris’ first seaworthiness test and we get the feeling she might be leading the fleet sooner rather than later.
And yet, we don’t know what Harris’ role is. We don’t know how she plans to deal with the problem. We don’t know how she plans to deal with Honduras, which is one of the trickiest parts of the problem.
Last week, Harris said the problem is “not going to be solved overnight.”
“It’s a huge problem. I’m not going to pretend it’s not. It’s a huge problem,” Harris said about the border crisis on CBS, according to USA Today. “Are we looking at overcrowding at the border, particularly of these kids? Yes. Should these kids be in the custody of HHS … instead of the patrol? Yes. Should we be processing these cases faster? Yes.”
How is Harris doing in this role? We’re waiting to hear from her, but it sounds like we’ll be waiting for a bit longer.
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