Monday, 18 October, 2021


Biden puts VP Harris in charge of border influx

Source Meena Harris Twitter Source Meena Harris Twitter
Noah Ferguson | 25 March, 2021, 21:24

They include hundreds of unaccompanied minors who are being held in immigration detention facilities.

Some critics accuse Biden of replacing Trump's unapologetically harsh measures with an approach of hiding the treatment of migrants by restricting media access. We are dealing with it, but it's going to take some time, and are we frustrate?

Announcing Ms Harris's appointment as his immigration czar, Mr Biden told reporters and officials at the White House: "She's the most qualified person to do it, to lead our efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle [Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador], and the countries that are going to need help in stemming the movement of so many folks - stemming the migration to our southern border".

Biden's decision gives a high-profile assignment to his vice president, a former US senator from California, and gives her the same role he played as vice president for then-President Barack Obama.

Harris said the current situation was in part caused by the Trump-era dismantling of a system that allowed U.S. officials to process children's asylum requests in their home countries. In the first two months of Biden's administration, the situation at the border has intensified, reportedly, in part, because more migrants from Central America have the perception that Biden will be kinder to them - though it's also true that nothing has changed for many of their unsafe and impoverished living situations at home, from which some of them are seeking refuge or asylum.

"We're going to look at the possibility for people in their home countries in the Northern Triangle to have a predictable, regular process of seeking asylum there so they don't have to take this phenomenally unsafe journey or, worse yet, send their children unaccompanied", said one senior official who briefed reporters on the Harris move.

"Should we be processing these cases faster?" she asked.

Vice President Harris delivers brief remarks during a meeting Wednesday.

Ms Harris will likely rely on her experience as senator from California, a border state, to inform her diplomatic efforts.

Some of Biden's fellow Democrats have also called for action to stem the migrant flow.

If she succeeds, Harris defuses an issue that the Republican Party - and Donald Trump, in particular - has used as an effective political weapon against her party, earning the gratitude of influential immigration activists.

The vice president, until now, had not been tasked with a key portfolio issue distinct from Biden.

Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged the situation.

On Monday, photographs emerged of a crowded migrant detention facility housing children along the southern border. They were sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor under foil blankets.

"Are we looking at overcrowding at the border, particularly these kids?"

The photos, said to have been taken last weekend, also raised concerns over how much social distancing was taking place at the centre.

The White House said it was committed to transparency and would work to let in more journalists on the ground.

She said earlier Wednesday in an interview with CBS News that the White House was frustrated by the current situation.

Harris said the job "will not be easy, but it is important work, it is work that we demand as a people of our country".

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