Several top members of the Biden administration were in Mexico City on Friday for a meeting with Mexican officials on security along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Vice President Kamala Harris was not among them.
Harris, who was appointed by President Biden in March to manage the U.S. response to the immigration crisis at the border, moved to New Jersey instead.
Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland attended Friday’s high-level talks in the Mexican capital.
Former Colorado U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, who now serves as U.S. ambassador to Mexico, was also present.
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Mayorcas tweeted on Friday, “Today’s high-level security dialogue marks an important new stage in the US-Mexico security partnership.” “We will work together under a new framework to guide our joint efforts and work towards our common goal of security and prosperity for our two nations.”
Meanwhile, Harris visited Garden State, visiting a day care center at Montclair State University in Little Falls and a vaccination site at Essex County Community College in Newark to promote the Biden administration’s agenda.
The vice president last visited the border in June, spending a few hours in El Paso, Texas on his way home to California. He has just arrived at the border since taking charge.
He then traveled to Los Angeles again the following weekend, spending the July 4 holiday at his home.
Harris has faced constant criticism from Republicans, who say that avoiding him from the border area has deprived him of valuable first-hand knowledge of border-related issues.
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement, “Vice President Harris is ignoring the real problem areas on our southern border that are not protected by the border wall and the federal government’s bad thinking, being crossed by the open border policy.” Before his last June trip.
Harris and his spokesmen counter-commented that he had focused behind-the-scenes discussions with Latin American leaders on the “root causes” of immigration, such as poverty and political corruption in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Perhaps in response to GOP criticism, Harris told potential immigrants he would “not come to the United States” during a visit to Guatemala in June.
He frowned at questions asked by reporters about the border at the time.
“I didn’t go to Europe. I mean, I don’t understand what you’re doing.”
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“Since March, Vice President Kamala Harris has been leading the administration’s diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of immigration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,” the White House said in a statement during the promotion of its key cause strategy plan this summer. “He has worked with bilateral, multilateral and private sector partners as well as civil society leaders to find hope in the homes of people in the region.”
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.