Republican leaders have feverishly complained that neither President Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris have, while in their current roles, visited the southern U.S. border amid concerns about rates of asylum-seekers arriving there — although it’s not exactly clear how a visit to the border by Harris or Biden is supposed to help policy-making. It’s 2021, with ample opportunities available for easy transmissions of information about the border to those who need it, so after the border visit that Republicans want… then what? On Monday, while in Guatemala on her first international trip as vice president, Harris went after Republicans’ insistence upon what she called “grand gestures.”
Harris commented as follows:
‘On the issue of Republicans’ political attacks, or criticism, or even concerns, the reason I am here in Guatemala as my first trip as vice president of the United States is because this is one of our highest priorities, and I came here to be here on the ground, to speak with the leader of this nation around what we can do in a way that is significant, is tangible, and has real results. And I will continue to be focused on that kind of work as opposed to grand gestures.’
Watch her comments below:
.@VP on not visiting southern border: "I came here… to speak with the leader of this nation around what we can do in a way that is significant, is tangible, and has real results. And I will continue to be focused on that kind of work as opposed to grand gestures." pic.twitter.com/QoLoNafwTl
— The Hill (@thehill) June 7, 2021
According to data from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), “southwest land border encounters” stood at a total of 178,622 in April of this year, which is the most recent month for which data is publicly available. That number is starkly higher than the total number of “border encounters” that CBP reports unfolded in April of last year, which featured just 17,106 such instances — but between then and now, the figures have been steadily increasing, including before Biden took office. In October of last year, for instance, 71,951 southern border encounters were reported — which is higher than the totals in October of 2019, 2018, and 2017.
Besides her role in addressing immigration, Harris has also taken on the task of confronting GOP voter suppression efforts across the country. In recent months, Republicans in state governments have rolled out and in some cases implemented suppressive new voting restrictions that solve no documented systematic election integrity problems but do make it more difficult to vote.