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Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday said her visit to the U.S.-Mexico Border is not her "first trip" following backlash that she waited over 90 days to make the trek since she was tapped as immigration czar.
“Well, it’s not my first trip. I’ve been to the border many times," she told a reporter, likely in reference to her excursions as a senator prior to her role in the White House.
REPORTER: "Why did you decide that right now was the right time to make your first trip to the border?"
KAMALA: "Well, it's not my first trip... I said back in March I was going to come to the border so this is not a new plan." pic.twitter.com/haqOam6Xvb
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 25, 2021
Harris earlier in the month took a trip to Guatemala to discover the "root causes of migration" for her first international visit since she assumed office on Jan. 20. She said that she hopes to build off her work in the Central American country and said her visit to the border "is not a new plan."
“So, the important aspect of this visit is leading this visit after the work that we did in Guatemala. ... I’ve said back in March I’m going to come to the border," she said. "This is not a new plan, but the reality of it is that we have to deal with causes, and we have to deal with the effects.”
“Being in Guatemala, being in Mexico, talking with Mexico, frankly, as a partner on the issue, was about addressing the causes and then coming to the border, at the advice and the indication of the congresswoman, is about looking at the effects of what we have seen happening in Central America," Harris said, adding that she's "glad to be" at the border and that "it was always the plan" to arrive.
Harris has faced similar questions about her reluctance to see the unprecedented surge of migrants firsthand. In an interview on June 8 in Guatemala City, Harris said that she "hasn't been to Europe" either when asked why she was yet to step foot at the border.
"We're going to the border. We've been to the border," Harris told NBC News's Lester Holt.
"And I haven't been to Europe," she said. "I don't understand the point that you're making. I'm not discounting the importance of the border."
Harris had acknowledged the need for a response amid a surge in the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally, but she said the scope of her focus was on the drivers of the influx of migrants.
"We have to deal with what's happening on the border," she said. "There's no question about that. That's not a debatable point, but we have to understand that there's a reason people are arriving at our border."
She continued, "I care about what's happening at the border."
Harris arrived in El Paso Friday morning along with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin of Illinois. The group will visit a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing center before speaking with nongovernmental organizations and holding a media availability.
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Original Author: Jake Dima
Original Location: Harris bristles at border question, insists it's not her 'first trip'