Tragesser: Kamala Harris’ First Trip to the Border Demonstrates the Biden Border Crisis Is Deliberate Policy

Vice President Kamala Harris stands in front of mountains during a press conference, Friday, June 25, 2021, at the airport after her tour of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Central Processing Center in El Paso, Texas. Harris visited the U.S. southern border as part of her role leading the …
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Last month, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to El Paso, Texas, ostensibly to get a firsthand look of the border and humanitarian crisis her administration created. Despite President Biden tapping Harris to oversee and address the “root causes” of illegal migration, the trip can only be described as a flop.

The location, the timing, and the nature of her visit demonstrate that she and her administration have no desire to end the crisis any time soon and that this crisis is a deliberate policy.

The vice president’s selection of the El Paso Sector and avoidance of the Rio Grande Valley Sector—the epicenter of the crisis—was troubling, to say the least.

Despite both sectors being located in Texas, the two sectors couldn’t be further away and different from one another. The El Paso Sector is located approximately 800 miles away from the Rio Grande Valley Sector. It is essentially the same distance from New York City to Chicago, or Seattle to San Francisco.

The number of individuals attempting to cross each sector is dramatically different. More than 270,000 individuals have been apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley Sector this fiscal year. In the El Paso Sector, fewer than 114,000 have been apprehended. That means current apprehension figures are some 2.5 times greater in the Rio Grande Valley.

The number of unaccompanied minor children—many of whom are abandoned by human smugglers (and in some cases, their own parents) and placed in deplorable conditions by the current administration—is also nearly 175 percent greater in the Rio Grande Sector.

While the El Paso Sector experiences its fair share of immigration-related issues, its problems pale in comparison to what is currently occurring in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

Aside from the questionable location, the timing of the visit also should raise concerns.

Despite President Biden tapping Harris to oversee and address the “root causes” of illegal migration to the country, Harris avoided traveling to the border for 93 days. She traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, and even a Chicago bakery before visiting any portion of the southern border.

And her trip to El Paso was abruptly announced just days after former President Trump revealed that he was traveling to the Rio Grande Valley. Could this trip have been executed to steal thunder from Trump and Republican lawmakers, or silence critics? The former president seems to think so.

But what really made this trip an utter disappointment was Harris’ agenda for the day.

The vice president inexplicably did not visit the Fort Bliss detention facility in the sector—a hastily constructed tent city on a military base where nearly 1,000 migrant children remain in deplorable conditions where spoiled food, extreme heat, and overcrowding are rampant.

Rather than maximize her time with Border Patrol personnel and hear from them about the human toll and national security threats the Biden Border Crisis poses, Harris spent a large portion of her visit meeting with open borders organizations and NGOs that look to eviscerate the nation’s immigration laws and maximize the number of unlawful migrants who gain entry to the country.

During a visit to the Rio Grande Valley Sector in March, I witnessed these types of groups providing unlawful migrants airplane and bus tickets to destinations all across the country. Rather than making these types of groups a priority, the vice president would have been better served speaking to residents, sheriffs, and local government officials whose lives and safety are at risk because of the administration’s policies.

When Harris eventually did meet with the Border Patrol, she spoke to agents about streamlining processing for migrants—a euphemism for allowing as many illegal immigrants as possible to be released into the interior of the country. Policies like “catch and release” and the virtual abandonment of immigration enforcement laws are largely responsible for illegal immigration numbers not seen in 21 years.

The vice president’s visit was a debacle. Harris chose the wrong location. She took too long to visit. And the visit did not accomplish anything that would help secure the southern border or indicated that Harris and the administration were serious about taking tangible actions to end the border crisis.

The trip further confirmed that the Biden Border Crisis is a deliberate policy with perhaps the ultimate goal of eviscerating all immigration and federal laws and bringing in as many people to the country as possible for future political gains. It appears that the administration has little desire to stop the mayhem and may not stop without strong pressure from Congress and the 80 percent of Americans who are alarmed by the chaos on our southern border.

Matthew Tragesser is press secretary at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in Washington D.C.


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