Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday she has no plans to visit the U.S. southern border, but she’s looking forward to a trip soon to Mexico and Guatemala to address the core causes of surging migration from Central America.
She also cautioned that her work isn’t likely to show noticeable results anytime soon.
“It will take some time to see the benefits of that work,” Ms. Harris said. “These are not issues that are going to be addressed overnight in terms of the root causes.”
At a roundtable discussion on immigration, Ms. Harris defended her absence at the border by saying that President Biden has given Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the job of securing the boundary with Mexico. She said her role is to focus on diplomacy, similar to Mr. Biden’s job when he was vice president.
“The president has asked Secretary Mayorkas to address what is going on at the border, and he has been working very hard and is showing some progress because of his hard work,” Ms. Harris told reporters. “I have been asked to lead the issue of addressing the root causes.”
Republicans have blasted Ms. Harris for avoiding a trip to the border to see firsthand the effects of a new surge in migrants since Mr. Biden was elected.
Ms. Harris said she is “happy” that she will soon visit Mexico and Guatemala to focus on efforts to encourage Central Americans not to migrate to the U.S.
Ms. Harris said the U.S. needs to provide the region with economic development aid, to give “some hope that if they stay at home, hope is on the way.”
She said at least twice in her brief remarks to reporters that her efforts probably won’t bear fruit anytime soon.
“Let me be clear, people who’ve been working on this for decades will tell you, it will not be obvious overnight,” the vice president said. “The work we are going to have to do will require a commitment that is continuous, that we institutionalize with our partners and that’s the work that I’m prepared to do, which is to begin that process of meaningful work knowing that we are going to have to have a long-term strategy.”
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