Harris Slammed for Neglecting Border Crisis as She Adds Space Duty In this Feb. 18, 2021, file photo, Vice President Kamala Harris holds a videoconference in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
By Brian Freeman | Monday, 03 May 2021 01:36 PM
Vice President Kamala Harris' new role leading the National Space Council has renewed criticism from Republicans that she has neglected the duties assigned to her more than a month ago regarding the border, which include finding the root causes of the migrant crisis in an effort to curb the current influx of illegal immigrants and implement long-term strategies, Fox News reported.
Republicans point out that Harris is taking on the new duties while she still has not visited the southern border to learn about the problems there or even held a meeting to inform the press of what the logistics are in tackling the problem.
Harris has stressed that her focus is on diplomatic issues related to the region rather than the crisis on the border itself, but Republicans and former Trump officials have said that such a role is entirely connected with the ongoing border crisis.
"You can’t talk to Northern Triangle countries, or to Mexican officials without understanding the pressures and the situation and atmosphere on the border," former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said. "The two are so linked, you can’t do one without the other."
Harris has so far met virtually with the leaders of Mexico and Guatemala, as well as community leaders, and is planning a trip to the region, but not until next month, according to Fox News.
Biden and Harris have placed emphasis on "root causes" such as poverty and violence, for the problems at the border. Harris said last month that, in dealing with the issue, "we are looking at … a number of issues that also relate to poverty, extreme poverty. And also there's violence obviously coming out of those regions."
But critics have blamed the Biden administration's ending of effective Trump-era border policies for helping fuel the crisis.
Fox News contributor and The Hill's Joe Concha commented to Fox News that the largely positive coverage of Harris in mainstream media, which comes as the administration finished its first 100 days in office, was misguided.
"Given the crisis that is now a catastrophe at the border, one would think coverage of the vice president — who was put in charge of it and has failed craptastically thus far by avoiding the most basic of steps by actually not seeing it firsthand or talking to officials on the ground — wouldn’t be so glowing," he said.
Harris' new role leading the National Space Council was announced over the weekend, CBS News reported. The council is charged with forming national space policies and national security strategies for the White House.
Harris plans to put her own "personal stamp on the council," according to a senior administration official, CBS reports, and will focus on climate change, diversity in the work force, and STEM. Enhancing cybersecurity in space systems will also be a focus, and she plans to "achieve peaceful exploration with allies and partners."