Harris says ‘climate change’ a key driver of migrant surge at southern border

Criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the growing migrant surge at the southern border has continued to mount in recent weeks, and the administration’s most recent explanation of one of its supposed causes is sure to fan those flames even more.

As Breitbart reports, Vice President Kamala Harris – tapped by President Biden last month to lead the administration’s response to the immigration crisis – cited climate change on Thursday as one of the “root causes” of migration from Central America, in another indication of the dangerously unserious approach she has taken since assuming this key role.

During a virtual roundtable with “foundation leaders” to discuss migration from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, Harris claimed that climate change in the region has forced those living there to suffer from food scarcity and insecurity, agricultural collapse, and profound poverty, factors which in turn prompt them to travel north to the United States.

In what is one of the first – albeit nebulous – glimpses offered into the vice president’s strategy for addressing the disastrous influx witnessed in recent months, Harris said, “…we’re looking at the issue of climate resiliency, and then the concern about the lack of economic opportunity.”

This stance piggybacks on prior administration assertions that widespread damage caused by Hurricanes Eta and Iota last year is evidence that climate change is pushing increasing numbers of migrants to seek entry to the U.S., according to Breitbart. Indeed, an executive order signed by Biden in February called for the drafting of a report outlining the effects of climate change on patterns of mass migration.

While mouthing platitudes about the need to “give people a sense of hope, a sense of hope that help is on the way, a sense of hope that if they stay [in their home countries], things will get better,” Harris tempered expectations by saying that any solution that actually succeeds in stemming the tide of migrants heading to America “will not be accomplished overnight,” adding, “if it was easy, it would have been solved a long time ago,” as Breitbart noted.

Though the Biden administration is ramping up its rhetoric on the supposedly existential threat of climate change in order to impact policies related to everything from immigration to energy production, Harris’ argument that the weather is what is driving record numbers of migrants to the border does not stand up to serious scrutiny.

Republicans have pointed to President Biden’s deliberate moves to unwind Trump-era immigration policies as a primary reason for the border surge, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asserting last month that “it will keep getting worse as long as this administration refuses to enforce the law.” In late March, even Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador laid blame at the American president’s feet, saying Biden’s attitude and “expectations” gave migrants the impression that they would be welcomed with open arms, as the New York Post reported.

With voter disapproval of Biden’s handling of the migrant influx demonstrably on the rise, it remains to be seen whether the administration will reverse course, or if Democrats will simply take the risk of a suffering a painful reckoning at the polls in next year’s midterm elections.