Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday will make her first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, her office announced, after she has faced criticism from members of both parties for failing to go there despite her role leading the Biden administration’s response to a steep increase in migration.
Harris will visit the El Paso area, accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, according to a statement Wednesday from Harris senior adviser Symone Sanders.
The visit comes as Harris has faced months of attacks from Republicans, and even some frustration from those in her own party, for declining to visit the area. Harris has been tasked by President Joe Biden with taking on the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States.
So far she has focused her efforts on improving economic and living conditions in the region. Her aides have repeatedly insisted her focus is distinct from the security issues that plague U.S. officials trying to handle a spike in border crossings.
Harris’ trip will come just days before former President Donald Trump is set to visit the border next week with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Trump immediately took credit for Harris’ trip, speculating in a statement that the vice president would not have made plans to go if Trump hadn’t been headed there himself.
Republicans have tried to make Harris the face of the administration’s policies, charging that she and Biden were ignoring the issue because both had yet to visit the border. Harris, during her trip to Latin America, told reporters she was focused on “tangible” results “as opposed to grand gestures.”
Material republished with permission of the Associated Press.