The Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, will arrive this Friday in the border city of El Paso (Texas), together with the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, on his first trip to an area that is receiving record numbers of undocumented immigrants and after receive strong criticism from Republicans for not having visited the most obvious scene of the immigration crisis since his arrival at the White House last January.
Harris’s trip comes two weeks after he visited Guatemala and Mexico in an attempt to address the causes of migration from their countries of origin, a decision that sparked rejection from his political rivals and some media outlets in his home country. origin for doing so before going to the border. “I’m going to visit the border and I’ve done it before,” said the vice president at the time, recalling that she had been in the area on multiple occasions when she was a prosecutor in California. But, he clarified: “For those of us who want to solve problems, it is short-sighted to suggest that I am going to react to the consequence instead of attacking the cause.”
In early May, President Joe Biden entrusted Kamala Harris with the challenge of alleviating the immigration crisis. The arrival of tens of thousands of undocumented migrants to the southern border, many of them families with young children and unaccompanied minors from Central America, became one of the first challenges for the Democratic government. In the month of May alone, more than 180,000 illegal crossing attempts were registered on the southern border of the United States, the highest number in almost two decades, according to Border Patrol data.
The visit of Harris and Mayorkas to Mexico will also take place a week after the Secretary of National Security met in the Mexican capital with several officials of the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who are advocating for the rapid opening of the border common to non-essential activities, a shutdown that already spans more than a year since the start of the pandemic and now lasts until at least July 21. Mexican authorities are accelerating vaccination in Mexican border cities to try to match immunization rates to those of the United States and thus be able to resume normal activities in the area, but Washington has not yet ruled on a possible reopening.
On the other hand, in recent days it was known that former President Donald Trump will visit the Texas border on June 30 accompanied by the governor of that state, Republican Greg Abbott. After learning about Harris’ trip, the ex-president reacted by saying that the vice president “never would have gone” to the area if she had not found out about his plans.
Since his arrival at the White House, the Government of Joe Biden has proposed to end the most cruel measures of the Trump Administration on immigration matters, such as the program by which it sent asylum seekers to await the resolution of their cases to Mexico. or some norms that made it difficult for victims of gangs or gender violence to seek refuge. However, the new Administration maintains Title 42 in force, a measure taken due to the pandemic by which the southern border has been closed to new asylum applications for more than a year and for which dozens are immediately expelled every month of thousands of undocumented immigrants to dangerous Mexican cities.