Vice President Kamala Harris says she has visited the U.S.-Mexico border and will visit it again. However, she is stressing the need to focus on the root causes of migration.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Harris was asked if she was concerned that the criticism of her not traveling to the southern border was overshadowing her focus on the issues leading to migration.
“We have, and it is a legitimate, correct conversation and concern, is to address what is happening at our American southern border. No question about that. We cannot have that question and that conversation without also giving equal weight and attention to what is causing that to occur,” she said.
She said her trip to Guatemala and Mexico highlights the need to address why migrants are leaving their home countries and making the dangerous trek to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“You can’t say you care about the border without caring about the root causes,” Harris said. “So, let’s approach this in a way that acknowledges there are many factors. And as with any intractable issue, we cannot be simplistic and assume there is only one element or way of approaching the overall problem. If this were easy, it would have been handled a long time ago.”
When asked why she has not traveled to the border, Harris said, “I’ve been to the border before. I’ll go again.”
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Harris’ comments come amid her first foreign trip as vice president. On Monday, she visited Guatemala, and on Tuesday, she visited Mexico in conjunction with her mission of working to help stem the flood of northern migration.
She has faced questions around why she has not visited the U.S. Mexico border, as IJR reported.
During an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, she was asked if she planned to visit the border as vice president.
“I – at some point – you know – we are going to the border. We’ve been to the border. So this whole – this whole – this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border,” Harris responded.
Holt interjected, “You haven’t been to the border.”
“I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t – I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border,” she said.
Harris border as while she was a senator but has not returned in her role as vice president. She has also not visited Europe as vice president.
As CNN reports, “Harris and her staff have made it clear that they want to focus narrowly on diplomatic efforts in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, where they believe they are more likely to achieve tangible results in addressing the root causes of migration, like economic despair.”
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