Gov. Noem Blasts VP Harris: 'I've Seen No Activity From Her' South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC in 2021. ( Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Sunday, 31 July 2022 08:42 AM EDT
Potential future vice presidential candidate South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem spoke out against current Vice President Kamala's inaction on the southern border.
"I don't even know if she's aware she's in charge, because I've seen no activity from her," Noem told reporters Friday at a Young America's Foundation event.
Harris had been designated the so-called border czar early in President Joe Biden's administration, but she has been repeatedly called out for not visiting the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
She did visit the trio of Northern Triangle countries Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, talking about "root causes," but she drew raised eyebrows when she delivered a message that was often repeated to Central American migrants: "Do not come; don't come."
Noem, who is amid a 2022 midterm reelection campaign, has been bandied about as a potential 2024 running mate for former President Donald Trump widely expected campaign. Noem has dismissed any talk beyond 2022, saying only she is focused on her reelection and helping the people of South Dakota.
That includes immigration, she said, which is a large problem in the Native American reservations in her state.
"It's the drugs and human trafficking are devastating for our state," Noem said. "I have nine Native American tribes, and they are sovereign governments. I don't have any authority or jurisdiction on their lands.
"And a lot of the drugs and trafficking that's happening that go out throughout the Midwest are being funneled through my tribal reservations. So there's very little law and order there. There's a lot of poverty and wide open spaces. And we've got some of the cartels that have a presence in South Dakota on our reservation land, and a lot of those drugs are moving through those areas."
Noem said her state noticed the uptick in activity since Biden took office – and Harris sat mostly idle as border czar.
"The increase of illegal drugs and activity has been dramatic since we have seen this open border," she said.
Also, the issue is one of national security and not just localized drug trafficking and crime, Noem added, who said she has taken action on the southern border in Harris' stead.
"I think what's happening with the border is completely different than just illegal immigration," she said. "This is a national security threat because we don't have a secure border."
"When Arizona and Texas requested help, I sent my National Guard. In fact, I was the first governor to send National Guard. Most other governors were responding with law enforcement, but recognizing the unique situation we have down there, it literally is a war zone."