Her comprehensive works on immigration, which include managing diplomatic efforts with Northern Triangle countries, fit into a larger trend of the administration transferring substantial foreign policy responsibilities to her. For example, she has held calls with major world leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu.
Since the start of the administration and a week after Biden's announcement, Harris has answered questions from the media but has yet to hold a formal news conference. Meanwhile, the border crisis charmed the nation's attention and put a series of concerns about national security and the backbone of the U.S. immigration system as a whole.
When Biden initially announced her appointment, he said she would be in charge of working to return migrants to their home countries.
"So this new surge we're dealing with now started with the last administration, but it's our responsibility to deal with it humanely and to – and to stop what's happening," Biden said this month.
"And so, this increase has been consequential, but the vice president has agreed – among the multiple other things that I have her leading – and I appreciate it – agreed to lead our diplomatic effort and work with those nations to accept re- – the returnees, and enhance migration enforcement at their borders – at their borders."
The White House later tried to maintain that Harris wasn't involved with the "border crisis," but instead converged on discussing the "root causes – not the border." But, returnees include individuals who make contact with U.S. authorities at the southern border, as well as others who are returned while traveling through other countries.
The unusual flow of migrants has led to the viral photos of individuals packed into close quarters despite coronavirus limitations, raising issues about two of the Biden-Harris' campaign's central attacks on President Trump. During the campaign, Biden lambasted Trump for not taking COVID-19 seriously and denounced him for placing migrant children in cages.
The border crisis itself includes a long list of issues and agencies throughout the federal government, particularly those housed under the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services. According to Harris' office, she'll work intimately with various Cabinet members, including the secretary of state and the administrator for international development, as well as the special envoy for the Northern Triangle.