'Where is the Border Czar?': Kamala Harris Skips US-Mexico Border Security Meeting

© REUTERS / KEVIN LAMARQUEU.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a visit to a COVID-19 vaccination site in Newark, New Jersey U.S., October 8, 2021
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a visit to a COVID-19 vaccination site in Newark, New Jersey U.S., October 8, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.10.2021
US Vice President Kamala Harris was tasked by President Joe Biden with coordinating the nation's response to the migrant crisis on the American southern border. However, she has been keeping a low profile, drawing bewilderment from many critics.
Vice President Kamala Harris was notably absent at the US-Mexico border security meeting in Mexico City, visiting a vaccination centre in New Jersey on Friday instead.
Many other top officials from the Biden administration attended the meeting, among them Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, US Attorney General Merrick Garland, and US Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar.
Mayorkas described Friday's High-Level Security Dialogue as "an important new phase in the US-Mexico security partnership"; however, Kamala Harris, who was officially appointed to tackle the migrant crisis at the southern border, was not there to participate, nor did she provide any official comment in regard to the meeting.
The only time the vice president paid a visit to the US border, which is currently seeing an increased number of migrants, was in late June, when Harris arrived in El Paso, Texas. Conservative critics, however, still slammed her for failing to visit Fort Bliss, where the government has erected the country's largest processing centre for unaccompanied migrant children, and other areas along the southern border hit by the unprecedented amount of migrants.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz, for his part, said her visit took place “800 miles from the epicentre” of the migrant crossings in the Rio Grande Valley, calling her border trip "nothing short of a glorified photo-op".
At the time, Harris argued during a presser that the border crisis "cannot be reduced to a political issue", asserting that "we have to deal with causes, and we have to deal with the effects".
Since then, however, she has not become a frequent guest at the southern border. She continues to keep a low profile, rarely offering comments or official statements in regard to the matter. In September, the US border saw yet another spike of migrants, this time from Haiti, with thousands of people flocking under a Rio Grande bridge in Del Rio, Texas.
Harris only commented on the situation after footage emerged supposedly showing border agents on horseback whipping and pushing illegal migrants, with the vice president voicing her "grave concerns" and said it was "horrible" to watch. However, the photographer behind the pictures in question later clarified that the border agents never actually attacked the migrants in the way it initially appeared, and the border officers themselves decried the readiness of the Biden administration to throw them under the bus without the benefit of the doubt.
Now, as yet another border-related meeting does not involve Harris, the vice president is seeing a decline in her approval ratings, with only 49 percent of respondents in a late September Gallup poll satisfied with how she is doing her job. Her boss, President Joe Biden, enjoys even less public support, with over half of voters, 52 percent, disapproving of his performance in the Oval Office.
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