The revelation seemed to undermine White House claims that Harris has been addressing the "root causes" of the migrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border – the primary explanation Biden administration officials have adopted in explaining the vice president not having toured the border region since becoming manager of the president’s migrant-crisis response last month.
Harris has now gone 23 days without facing reporters’ questions at a full news conference about her assignment from President Biden. Although she did make a handful of statements Wednesday at a Northern Triangle security roundtable discussion.
The vice president has received steady criticism from Republicans for what they describe as her seeming distance from border and immigration issues since assuming the new role. GOP lawmakers have noted that neither she nor President Biden have visited the border region since taking office in January.
Harris told the Los Angeles Times this week that the migrant crisis "is not going to be fixed overnight," but she disclosed plans to visit leaders in Mexico and Guatemala, with whom she claims to have spoken in recent weeks, to discuss the matter.
However, it is reported by the Times that Harris hasn’t been in contact with leaders in El Salvador and Honduras.
Meanwhile, Biden and Harris were the recipients of a letter Thursday from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who is calling on the Democrats to label Mexico’s cartels as "terrorist" organizations.
Abbott alleged that the cartels have wreaked havoc on his state, smuggling both drugs and people into Texas. The governor has also alleged that Biden administration policies have made conditions along the border less safe, citing as an example reports of migrant children being sexually assaulted at a U.S. holding facility in San Antonio.
In Washington, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, has requested a full committee hearing regarding the border crisis, telling panel Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas should appear at the proposed session to answer lawmakers’ questions.
Unlike Biden and Harris, Mayorkas has visited the border region several times since taking the Homeland Security job.
In addition, Guatemala’s president is blaming the Biden administration’s “confusing” messages for creating the crisis at the US border — the second leader to make that claim after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made similar remarks in March.
“I believe that in the first few weeks of the Biden administration, messages were confusing. They were compassionate messages that were understood by people in our country, especially the coyotes, to tell families, ‘We’ll take the children,'” President Alejandro Giammattei said Tuesday during an interview on MSNBC.