WASHINGTON, D.C. – Vice President Kamala Harris, tapped last month by President Joe Biden of being the point person in terms of the ongoing migrant crisis at the U.S. southern border, is starting to get flack from some members of the media for not yet holding any press conferences while already 12 days into the role.
Biden, upon announcing Harris’ role in addressing the crisis, said that the VP would be heading up the effort to deport and return detained migrants to their countries of origin, in addition to overseeing diplomatic efforts with Northern Triangle countries and other assorted duties.
“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. “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 the returnees, and enhance migration enforcement at their borders.”
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Harris has taken random questions from reporters on the migrant crisis, but has yet to sit down with them in a group setting and hold a traditional formal press conference; while the media is decrying the lack of transparency thus far, Harris is still far shy of President Biden’s lack of any press conferences until 65 days into his term.
In addition, Harris is being saddled with more foreign policy responsibilities than is typical for a Vice President, including recently holding several solo phone calls with world leaders including French President Emanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
The migrant surge at the U.S. border has been described as a humanitarian crisis by many. With President Biden doing away with several of the policies of the Trump Administration that served to keep migrants at bay – such as forcing asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting their hearing instead of allowing them in – a record-breaking number of migrants have traveled to the United States. U.S. Border Patrol agents detained nearly 100,000 at the Mexican border in February, and that number is expected to increase as time goes by.