(Headline USA) Vice President Kamala Harris won’t be on the ground at the Southwest border anytime soon as she becomes the public face of an escalating immigration crisis that shows no signs of improving.
Many have speculated that the radical leftists within the Biden administration, including the vice president, favor the disastrous open-border approach even as they are obligated to appear concerned over the humanitarian disaster.
Thousands of children are currently being crammed into detention centers where they risk both sexual and physical assault, as well as widespread exposure to the deadly coronavirus.
Yet, Harris herself has no plans to visit the U.S.–Mexico border region “in the near future,” spokeswoman Symone Sanders said Friday.
Sanders said Harris will go to the border at some point but emphasized the diplomatic nature of the vice president’s role.
“The vice president is not doing the border,” Sanders told reporters on a flight to Connecticut, where Harris was promoting the administration’s COVID-19 relief package.
Harris has received an extensive briefing on the Northern Triangle and Latin America and will soon start the diplomatic part of her mission. “You can expect she will be speaking with leaders from the region in the near future,” Sanders said.
The Biden administration is backing a proposal to provide $7 billion in assistance to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. It believes such support can address the poverty and violence that leads people to flee their homelands for the U.S.
U.S. authorities apprehended more than 100,000 people as they attempted to cross the border in February, the most since spring 2019. However, it has repeatedly denied that the situation is a crisis.
The increase has strained the capacity of the Border Patrol and the Department of Health and Human Services, which holds the unaccompanied minors in shelters until they can be placed with relatives or sponsors in the U.S. while authorities determine whether they have a legal right to remain in the country, either through asylum or for some other reason.
It has also turned into a political headache for Biden, who encouraged people to come by halting construction on the border wall project, ending restrictions on asylum imposed by former President Donald Trump and backing legislation that would allow millions of people already in the country to eventually become U.S. citizens.
Sen. Ted Cruz led a delegation of lawmakers to the border area Friday. He tweeted out photos of dozens of minors, wrapped in foil-like space blankets, lying on the floor of crowded Border Patrol facilities. “This is a humanitarian and a public health crisis,” the Texas Republican said.
Biden, at a news conference Thursday, pledged to increase efforts to get teens and children out of cramped Border Patrol facilities and into HHS shelters more quickly, but the overall situation does not appear to be getting any better.
A senior Border Patrol official told reporters Friday that the encounters with migrants along the Southwest border have averaged about 5,000 people per day throughout March, which would be about a 50% increase over February if those figures hold for the entire month.
Of the total, about 450-500 per day are unaccompanied minors, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss preliminary figures.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press