Julie Chung, who works as acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, announced that the May 7 virtual conference between Harris and Lopez Obrador will "deepen the U.S.-Mexico partnership to achieve the common goals of prosperity, good governance and addressing the root causes of migration."
Harris previously stated that she would travel to the Northern Triangle in Central America, including stops in Mexico and Guatemala, to address the source causes of the migrant surge, though specific details were not published at that time. Chung's tweet did not explain when Harris would travel in person.
The vice president was given a lead role overseeing the surge of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border by President Joe Biden, who announced in March that he can think of "nobody who is better qualified" than Harris to handle the job.
The United States is contending with a huge number of migrants, especially unaccompanied minors, passing the southern border. Over 100,000 migrants were encountered at the border in February, according to officials, and reports show that an unprecedented 117,000 migrant children will enter the U.S. by the end of 2021. The most recent border surge saw the arrival of 80,000 unaccompanied minors at the southern border in 2019.
That's not all, a total of 111 migrants were taken into Customs and Border Protection custody within only 24 hours in three trucks alone, after many inspections this week, the government body announced on Wednesday.
Notwithstanding initial reluctance, Biden referred to the surge as a "crisis" when describing his choice to lift the cap on the number of refugees who can resettle in the U.S.
"We’re going to increase the number. The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people," the president announced last weekend. "We couldn’t do two things at once, but now, we are going to increase the number."
The White House has since walked back this statement, with press secretary Jen Psaki announcing Biden didn't see minors passing the border as a crisis.
"The president does not feel children coming to our border, seeking refuge from violence, economic hardships, and other dire circumstances, is a crisis," she announced on Monday when questioned regarding his remarks.
Administration officials have largely preferred to call the surge a "challenge" rather than a "crisis."
Biden has indicated that he plans to visit the border, but specific travel plans have not been announced.