After months of stubbornly refusing to travel to the nation’s border with Mexico, Vice President Kamala Harris finally headed south to El Paso, Texas on Friday morning, but she was not greeted with the warmest of welcomes by a group of protestors gathered outside the Border Patrol station she was set to visit, as the Washington Examiner reported.
The placards held by the assembled demonstrators included phrases such as “Trump Won” and “Kamala do you hear their screams,” a jarring reference to the sexual assaults to which untold numbers of migrant women and girls have allegedly been subjected.
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Protestor and Republican congressional candidate Irene Armendariz-Jackson said, “Kamala, you came a little too late. We have had this crisis for years. We need solutions, we don’t need you parading around the border patrol station or acting like you care,” as Fox News noted.
Though she was tapped back in March by President Joe Biden to address the record-breaking migrant surge that has overwhelmed the country’s southern border, Harris has been roundly criticized for declining the opportunity to get a first-hand look at conditions on the ground in affected areas and for attempting to shift her focus to what she calls the “root causes” of mass migration, including climate change and political instability in Central America.
After former President Donald Trump announced that he would be visiting the southern border next week, Harris’ obstinance about making a visit of her own seemed to disappear overnight, but the specific destination she ultimately chose left her vulnerable to additional skepticism about the seriousness with which she is treating her task.
Rather than traveling to the Rio Grande Valley sector, where most illegal border crossings have occurred and where law enforcement resources have been the most strained, Harris opted to visit a Customs and Border Protection processing center in El Paso – several hundred miles away from the crisis zone.
A senior border official who spoke to Fox News on condition of anonymity slammed Harris’ itinerary, saying, “If [she] truly wanted to assess the situation at the border, she’d head to McAllen and sites along the Rio Grande Valley.”
Encapsulating the widespread incredulity surrounding Harris’ trip to El Paso were comments from Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales who said Friday, “Kamala’s first visit to the border as vice president has been a huge flop…What’s happening in El Paso is much different than what’s happening in the Del Rio sector or in the Big Bend sector in Laredo or Rio Grande Valley…You can’t just land somewhere, talk to somebody for a few hours and then become an expert.”