After months of refusing to visit the US-Mexico border, Vice President Kamala Harris took a trip to Texas on Friday. She announced her visit shortly after former President Trump announced his plans to visit.
Harris' official schedule shows the trip to El Paso, Texas. She will travel to a Border Patrol Station, and that there would be press pool coverage of the tour. Harris will meet with NGO's, and intends to take questions at the airport.
Harris stated that the decision to visit El Paso, Texas now was not influenced by pressure from Republicans.
After arriving at the border Friday morning, Harris was asked about the decision behind the timing "of your first trip to the border."
Harris told the reporter "well it's not my first trip to the border, I've been to the border many times."
The reporter shot back "as vice president, as the person in charge of the response."
"The important aspect of this visit is needing this visit after the work that we did in Guatemala and Mexico," said Harris, defending the timing of her visit. "I said in March I was going to the border, this is not a new plan. But the reality of it is that we have to deal with causes and we have to deal with the effects."
Harris said her Mexico and Guatemala trips were about dealing with the causes of the massive surge in southern border immigration, while going to the border was to deal with the effects.
"It was always the plan to come here," Harris continued.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas added on Friday that "we've made extraordinary progress" at the border, adding that he was looking forward to sharing that progress with the Vice President. He did not provide details to reporters.
Spokesperson and senior adviser for Harris Symone Sanders, was asked in a call with reporters if Harris’ visit was somehow her office "bowing to political pressure from Republicans and some Democrats," according to Fox News.
"This administration does not take their cues from Republican criticism, nor from the former President of the United States of America," said Sanders. "We have said, over a number of different occasions—and the vice president has said, over the course—over the last three months, that she would go to the border. She has been before. She would go again. She would go when it was appropriate, when it made sense."
Representative Tony Gonzales of Texas told Fox News in an interview that former President Donald Trump’s decision to visit the border put Harris in a challenging spot, already fueled by her choice to visit Mexico and Guatemala over the souther border.
"We have put political pressure on her for months and months and months to show up," he said. "You know, thankfully former President Donald Trump is coming down, and all of a sudden you put their head in a political vise, and then they start moving. But, you know like I said I’m glad she’s at least showing up, now what? We need actions."
Back in March when immigration levels were reaching historic highs along the southern border, a reporter asked Harris about her plans to visit the souther border. Harris laughed at said reporter.
Sanders told reporters that Harris upcoming visit to the southern border would build on diplomatic relationships Harris has accomplished in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, according to Fox News.
Harris' trip "will also shed a spotlight on the administration’s work to build a fair, humane and orderly immigration system," Sanders said.
The White House defended Harris decision to visit the border now, with press secretary Jen Psaki stating Harris had been "open to going to the border at the appropriate time."
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