Wait A Sec, Where Was Biden's 'Border Czar' During His Visit?

By Javier Sanchez | Sunday, 03 March 2024 08:30 PM
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On Thursday, President Joe Biden, accompanied by several top-ranking officials, made a visit to the southern border in Brownsville, Texas.

Notably absent from the delegation was Vice President Kamala Harris.

The President's visit to Brownsville followed a series of meetings with Border Patrol, local law enforcement, and community leaders. In his address, Biden called on Republicans to support a bipartisan Senate bill he believes could provide a solution to the escalating crisis at the southern border. "It's real simple, it's time to act, it is long past time to act," the President declared. "It's time for us to move on this, we can't wait any longer."

However, Vice President Harris, who was assigned the task of leading diplomatic outreach to address the "root causes" of migration in 2021, was conspicuously absent. The administration had initially emphasized the root-causes narrative in early 2021, attributing migration to the U.S. border to factors such as climate change, violence, poverty, and economic insecurity. The proposed solution was to engage with foreign governments and invest in addressing these root causes, thereby reducing migration.

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This assignment led to Harris being labeled the "border czar" – a title the White House rejected, emphasizing instead her role in international engagement. Under pressure, Harris visited the border in El Paso in June 2021.

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As part of her efforts, Harris has been rallying private-sector investment in the region, particularly in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. "First, I do believe most people don't want to leave home. They don't want to leave their grandmother. They don't want to leave the place where they worship and the community that they've always known," Harris said in 2022. "And so, when they do, it is usually for one of two reasons: They are fleeing harm, or to stay means they simply cannot satisfy their basic needs or the needs of their family."

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In response to the Call to Action, Harris announced an additional $950 million a year ago, bringing the total to more than $4.2 billion since May 2021. However, her public role appears to have continually diminished, even amidst a historic year for illegal immigration, with more than 2.4 million migrant encounters in FY 23. FY 24 has been similarly overwhelming, with over 300,000 encounters in December.

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Harris was not part of the border tour on Thursday, nor was she part of a delegation to Mexico City in December with Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. During this meeting, according to a White House readout, the two countries "reaffirmed their existing commitments on fostering an orderly, humane, and regular migration." The readout further stated, "This includes reinforcing our partnership to address the root causes of migration, such as poverty, inequality, and violence, and for the two countries’ initiative for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans."

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Despite the focus on root causes, Harris was not present at these discussions. Fox News Digital reached out to the White House for comment but received no response.

The L.A. Times recently reported that Harris will meet with new Guatemalan President Bernardo Arevalo in Washington to announce more private-sector investment. However, the administration appears to have shifted its focus from root causes to passing the Senate border bill, which has bipartisan support but has struggled to gain enough support to pass due to conservative opposition. The bill includes additional funding for staffing at the border, funding for cities and NGOs, as well as rules tightening asylum and a mechanism to shut down entries when they reach a certain level. Conservatives argue that it would codify an unnecessarily high level of illegal entries.

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Earlier this month, Harris issued a statement calling for Congress to pass the bill. "Let us remember: we are a nation of immigrants. Immigrants have always helped strengthen our country, grow our economy, and drive innovation. We know that in America, diversity is our strength," she said. "So rather than politicize this issue, let us all address it with the urgency and seriousness it requires."

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