Vice President Kamala Harris laughed at a reporter question when asked if she plans to visit the U.S-Mexico border, as a spiraling humanitarian crisis continues to unfold, while the Biden administration continues to refuse to call the burgeoning situation a “crisis.”
“Do you have any plans to visit the border?” a reporter asked the vice-president outside the tarmac of Jacksonville Airport on Monday.
“Not today,” Harris responded, before bursting out in laughter. “But I have before, and I’m sure I will again.”
Harris said the Biden administration was “left with a very challenging situation,” repeating Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ message from his Sunday show circuit in blaming former president Trump and his administration for the border crisis the
“First of all, we were left with a very challenging situation. And, you know, let me start by saying I think we all agree — and Secretary Mayorkas said it a number of times this weekend — let’s get these kids out of CBP custody, get them into HHS custody,” Harris said. “We’ve got to treat this issue in a way that is reflective of our values as Americans and do it in a way that is fair and is humane. And — but we have to meet the moment. And there’s a lot of work going into that, and we expect to have success, but it’s going to take a lot of work.”
“I mean, again, we were presented, when we came in, with some serious challenges,” Harris added before getting cut off by aides.
Harris’s visit to Jacksonville, Fla was part of President Biden’s “Help Is Here” tour to tout the Democrats passage of the $1.9 Trillion “American Rescue Plan” COVID relief package. The vice-president told reporters that she is “glad to be in Jacksonville” and has been talking with Mayor Lenny Curry, state Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, and Rep. Al Lawson (D-FL) “about the good work that’s happening here on the ground.”
Biden on Sunday told reporters that he would eventually “at some point” will be making the trip down the border, despite last week saying he currently has no plans to visit, as the White House continues to ignore reality in devoting the president time to visit battleground states for a national tour.
Earlier, the Biden administration came under fire after Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar sent Axios photos of a packed migrant facility in Donna, Texas. The photos show crowded conditions packed with young migrants sleeping on mats and huddled together in silver space blankets while some are locked inside clear pens.
Cuellar who didn’t take the photos, said the facility had “terrible conditions” for unaccompanied migrant children with one center designed for 260 people capacity, was holding 400 unaccompanied male minors.
Between January and February, the number of migrants unlawfully crossing the border jumped by 28 percent, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data reported. Rio Grande Valley, which is ground zero for the border crisis, reported for the month of February of 27,913 unaccompanied minors, families, and single adults apprehended, with the numbers expected to double in March. As of last week, according to Chief Patrol Agent Brian Hastings Twitter post, CBP recorded more than 34,000 crossings in just 19 days alone and growing, including a single weekly total of more than 10,000 apprehension alone.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the media will eventually be able to tour border detention facilities, blaming the pandemic for the blackout.
“We are working to finalize details, and I hope to have an update in the coming days,” Psaki said during her latest White House press briefing. “We are working through, with the Department of Health and Human Services, and also the Department of Homeland Security, to ensure privacy and ensure we’re following COVID protocols. We remain committed to transparency. We certainly want to make sure that the media has access to these sites.”