Kamala Harris faces backlash over not visiting US-Mexico border

United States Vice-President Kamala Harris has been facing pressure to visit the US-Mexico border as she looks to tackle the root causes of migration toward the US in a visit to Mexico.

It started when Harris had an exchange with a news anchor who asked why she had not gone to the US’ southern boundary and whether she had any plans to visit the border, Harris responded: “At some point. You know… we are going to the border. We have been to the border.”

When the host pointed out that she had not herself visited the region, she said with a laugh, “And I haven’t been to Europe. I don’t understand the point you are making. Harris again brushed off questions about why she had not gone to the border as she spoke to reporters on Tuesday in Mexico.

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The vice president and President Biden himself have been criticized, including by some in their own party, for not visiting the border as illegal crossings have surged.

Some 178,000 undocumented migrants arrived at the border in April, which is the highest total in more than two decades. The vice-president’s staff initially said the border was part of Harris’ portfolio when US President Joe Biden assigned her in March to stem migration from Latin America. However, aides have recently been seeking to distance her from the politically toxic crisis.

While recent public polling has suggested a generally favourable view of the Biden administration’s policies on the economy and pandemic, it’s handling of the immigration crisis has proven less popular.

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