Americans are growing increasingly frustrated with President Joe Biden’s handling of the migrant influx at the southern border, and remarks made this weekend by the administration’s point person on the crisis engender little confidence that any decisive actions are on the immediate horizon.
Tapped by the president earlier this year to take the lead on addressing the wave of migrants making their way to the U.S. in recent months, Vice President Kamala Harris attempted to defend the apparent lack of movement on the matter and dismissed those critical of her level of attention to the issue, saying, “it’s not going to be solved overnight,” according to Fox News.
Since being charged back in March with tackling the escalating disaster at the border with Mexico, Harris has faced an onslaught of criticism from Republicans for neither making a trip to the border itself, holding press conferences discussing the administration’s response to the crisis, or taking other concrete steps to demonstrate engagement on the topic.
After the president himself declared Harris as the to go-to person for generating solutions to the border dilemma, the White House began to issue clarifications about the true nature of Harris’ role, suggesting that she would focus not on the deteriorating situation on the ground at detention facilities, but instead work on the “root causes” of mass migration, as the New York Post reported.
Given that a long list of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have traveled to survey conditions at the border for themselves in recent weeks, and Harris herself has traveled to places such as California, New Hampshire, and Illinois, her conspicuous absence at the border has remained a cause for concern.
During an interview with State of the Union on CNN, Harris shrugged off such criticisms and referenced an eventual trip to Central America, saying, “We’re working on the plan to get there. We have to deal with COVID issues, but I can’t get there soon enough in terms of personally getting there,” as Fox News noted.
Harris did not, however, give any indication that travel to the southern border itself was on her agenda anytime soon, pivoting instead to an assertion that it is perhaps far more important to analyze the underlying reasons why so many are migrating north in the first place, engage in diplomatic talks with Central American leaders, and “give people some sense of hope that if they stay there that help is on the way.”
Having previously pointed to climate change, food insecurity an agricultural collapse as key drivers of the recent migrant surge, Harris worked to temper expectations of quick progress, saying, “But 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.” She also cast blame on her predecessors, adding, “Part of the problem is that under the previous administration, they pulled out essentially a lot of what had been the continuum of work, and it essentially came to a standstill.”
With a new Washington Post/ABC News poll revealing that a majority of voters disapprove of the administration’s handling of the Central American migrant surge, it is becoming increasingly evident that Harris’ ability to sidestep, obfuscate, and avoid the task at hand is coming to an end as Americans in greater numbers start to demand real answers and concrete action.