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Vice President Kamala Harris made an unannounced stop at the Paso del Norte port of entry during her trip to El Paso and the southern border on Friday.
According to an official in Harris's office, the stop during her trip to Texas will consist of a "tour [of] an area for screening of asylum applicants as they enter from Mexico." Harris will also "view a secondary processing area for migrants, and inspect an outdoor vehicle inspection area used to screen vehicles crossing the border for illegal goods or activities."
"The Paso del Norte port of entry is one of the country’s busiest pedestrian border crossings," the official added. "It is located on the Paso Del Norte International Bridge. Thousands of people cross the border through the port each day."
The stop occurred immediately after the vice president and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas met with Customs and Border Protection officials at a CBP facility in El Paso. The White House told reporters that Harris also met with "five young girls ages 9-16, from Central America," at the CBP facility.
Harris, who President Joe Biden tasked with overseeing both the migrant influx and roots causes of northern migration in the spring, drew some criticism for deciding to pick El Paso as the location for her first trip to the border.
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar told the Washington Examiner that the decision to go to El Paso was "politically safer" than other regions of the Southern Border and urged Harris to visit major problem areas.
"If you want to get a real idea of what's happening at the border, you’ve got to go where the hot spot is, and that is the lower Rio Grande," he said. "I hope that she'll go down 800-900 miles down the border sometime in the future, to the lower Rio Grande Valley. That's where the Donna Border Patrol facilities are, the [Health and Human Services] facilities are for kids, that's where they're doing prosecutorial discretion releases. That's where the majority of the numbers are."
Cuellar added that, following the announcement of Harris's trip, he spoke with several border patrol agents who questioned El Paso's selection.
"I got several texts, and one phone call also, from people in my district, ‘Why is she going over there? She should be coming here. She should, ought to be here,'" the congressman claimed. "Even Border Patrol yesterday, people that I know, said, ‘Why not down to the Valley?’ And I don't know how to answer them. I don't know the rationale why."
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Original Author: Christian Datoc
Original Location: Harris makes unannounced stop at port of entry during El Paso border trip