More than two weeks ago, President Joe Biden tasked Vice President Kamala Harris with addressing the “root causes” behind a spike in migration from Central America, but she has yet to announce a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border to witness the situation firsthand.
Harris has, however, found time to take a handful of trips to locations other than the southern border, a fact that White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed when a reporter brought it up during a recent briefing.
Travel plans draw criticism
The vice president traveled to Chicago, Illinois, on Tuesday to tout the recently passed COVID-19 relief bill and encourage locals to make an appointment to receive their vaccines. Before leaving town, she posed for photos at a popular bakery.
Just prior to that trip, Harris traveled to California where she toured a water treatment facility with Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to herald the projected benefits of a more than $2 trillion federal infrastructure proposal.
Although she spent the Easter weekend at her home in Brentwood, California, she did not visit the state’s border with Mexico during her stay.
Shortly after receiving her new immigration-related assignment within the Biden administration, she also visited Connecticut to deliver a COVID-related message emphasizing vaccines.
In light of those trips, a reporter asked Psaki on Wednesday if Harris was “still working” on the border issues.
“I think she’s allowed to do that”
Attempting to brush off a reference to Harris’s bakery visit while in Chicago, Psaki said: “And so, while she was there, like many Americans, she got a snack. I think she’s allowed to do that.”
She went on to reference a statement from the vice president’s team regarding a special humanitarian aid unit dispatched to Central America as evidence that Harris was hard at work in her new role.
“Well, they wouldn’t be putting out a statement this morning if she wasn’t, would they?” Psaki asked.
As for a possible trip to the border, Harris laughed off the notion that it should be a priority for her.
Psaki offered no further details, saying that she does not “have any trips to outline or preview,” adding that the administration’s “focus is on solutions — and ensuring we have more beds, we’re making the processing more efficient and effective, and that we are addressing this in a humane way that keeps these kids as safe as we possibly can.”
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Author: Ben Marquis
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