With no apparent end in sight to the record-breaking influx of migrants making their way to the southern border, criticism of the Biden administration’s lack of coordinated response continues to mount.
Though she was tapped by President Joe Biden as the administration’s border crisis point person back in March, Vice President Kamala Harris has only now announced that a meeting – albeit a virtual one – between herself and Mexican President Andres Manuel Obrador will occur next month, according to the Washington Examiner.
There has been a growing perception among Republican lawmakers that, despite being selected by the president to take the lead on the escalating crisis at the border with Mexico, Harris has been derelict in her duties by failing to travel to the affected areas and not holding a press conference to answer questions on the administration’s strategy for addressing the situation.
Alas, news emerged over the weekend that Harris and Lopez Obrador will speak via video conference on May 7 in order to “deepen the U.S.-Mexico partnership to achieve the common goals of prosperity, good governance and addressing the root causes of migration,” according to Julie Chung, acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department.
While many interpreted Biden’s assignment of Harris to oversee the border crisis to mean that she would have a hands-on role in responding to the deteriorating conditions in which detainees are being held, the White House took pains later to clarify that her tasks were more diplomatic in nature and that she would be working on tackling the “root causes” of mass migration, as the New York Post has noted.
Harris seemed to dismiss concerns about her level of involvement during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union this weekend in which she repeated earlier statements of intention to eventually visit the Central American nations from which migrants are arriving in record numbers. “We’re working on the plan to get there,” she said, adding, “We have to deal with COVID issues, but I can’t get there soon enough in terms of personally getting there,” according to Fox News. As far as a trip to our own country’s border with Mexico, however, no insight was forthcoming.
The administration has recently emphasized agricultural difficulties, climate change, and food insecurity as among the most significant drivers of migrant movement northward, and as such, Harris herself has tried to dampen expectations of quick solutions, saying on CNN, “..it’s not going to be solved overnight. It’s a complex issue. Listen, if this were easy, it would have been handled years ago.”
According to the New York Post, Mexican officials anticipate that President Lopez Obrador’s discussion with Harris will include his proposal that the United States provide financing for a program in which a billion trees would be planted in Mexico and Central America and also offer six-month work visas leading to citizenship for those who provide labor to the program. Lopez Obrador believes such an initiative could help stem the tide of migrants surging to the U.S. border.
With it becoming increasingly clear that Harris does not plan to get her hands too dirty with the actual work of sorting out the border disaster of the administration’s own creation, now is the time for Americans to demand a return to the Trump-era policies that prioritized enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.