- Over 50 Republicans have called on Biden to replace Vice President Harris in immigration efforts at the border.
- “Harris has not yet shown adequate interest in observing this crisis first-hand,” the group said.
- The administration has emphasized that Harris is not a “czar” in charge of managing the border.
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More than 50 House Republicans have called on President Joe Biden to remove Vice President Kamala Harris from leading the effort to address the root causes of the surge in migrants at the US-Mexico border, accusing her of “inaction.”
In a letter to Biden, 56 Republicans, led by GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, have expressed “serious concerns” about Harris’s role in handling what they deem a “crisis” at the southern border.
The group cited recent figures released by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which revealed 180,034 migrant encounters at the southern border last month.
“Despite being in the midst of a border crisis this country has not seen in two decades, Vice President Harris has not yet shown adequate interest in observing this crisis first-hand,” the letter said.
They added: “In the 85 days since the Vice President has been tasked with solving this crisis, she has yet to visit the border and meet with Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and local law enforcement officials.”
In March, Biden tapped Harris to work with Central American nations to address the root causes of the surge in migrants seeking to come to the US.
Addressing Biden, the members of Congress found fault in the president’s selection of Harris.
“At the time of her appointment, you stated,’I can think of nobody who is better qualified to do this.’ We disagree,” the letter said.
—Rep. Glenn Grothman (@RepGrothman) June 17, 2021
GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a frequent critic of the administration, on Tuesday blasted Harris for not visiting the border since taking office in January.
“Vice President Harris, who was in charge of the border, seems determined to go anywhere she can but the border,” he said.
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Harris and her staff have stressed that their diplomatic work is focused on Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. However, Republicans have sought to shift broader concerns about the US-Mexico border onto Harris, despite the administration emphasizing that she is not a “czar” in charge of managing the border.
During a recent NBC interview, Harris discussed the border issues in a series of exchanges with Lester Holt.
As a former US Senator from California, she represented a state with a 140-mile border with Mexico.
“It is my firm belief that if we care about what’s happening at the border, we better care about the root causes and address them,” she said. “And so that’s what I’m doing.”
Harris said she would personally go to the border “at some point” and stressed other administration officials had already paid visits.
“At some point, you know, we are going to the border,” Harris said. “We’ve been to the border. So this whole, this whole, this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.”
“You haven’t been to the border,” Holt responded, calling out Harris’s lack of a visit since taking office as vice president.
“And I haven’t been to Europe,” Harris said. “I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border. … I care about what’s happening at the border . I’m in Guatemala because my focus is dealing with the root causes of migration.”