The Biden administration hasn’t shared in months accomplishments made by Vice President Kamala Harris about her task to address the border crisis as illegal immigration continues to surge.
The White House assigned Harris with tackling the “root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras” in March 2021, which led Republicans to label her the “border czar.” The last time Harris held an event on the issue was on Feb. 6, when she touted her work on migration after the White House garnered $3.2 billion in investments in creating economic opportunities for Central Americans and was bringing in an additional $956 million from private sector entities.
“There’s no metrics that show that the root causes have been addressed or anything that indicates irregular unlawful migration has has slowed down,” former Chief Patrol Agent of the Yuma sector in Arizona Chris Clem told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Border Patrol recorded the highest level of illegal immigration on record with more than 2.2 million illegal crossings at the southern border in fiscal year 2022, according to the Congressional Research Service. Illegal migrant encounters also surpassed 2 million in fiscal year 2023.
Harris told migrants “do not come” to the U.S. while visiting Guatemala in June 2021. Migrants who spoke with DCNF at the Guatemala-Honduran border in October 2022 said they didn’t believe the U.S. government was doing enough to solve the safety and economic issues that were leading them to leave their home countries.
“It did not resonate with the migrant population because they continue to come,” Clem, who retired in December 2022, told the DCNF.
The White House announced in February 2021 that its strategy to solve the migration issue would include addressing issues in Central America related to corruption, the economy, human rights and crime.
“Just after we took office, President Joe Biden outlined our Administration’s vision to reform our immigration system by creating a pathway to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented migrants in our country, modernizing our immigration process, and effectively managing our border,” Harris said in a statement in July 2021 after visiting the southern border the previous month.
“Shortly after that, the President asked me to lead our nation’s efforts to address the root causes of that migration. That is because migration to our border is also a symptom of much larger issues in the region,” she continued.
The White House said in an April 2022 update on Harris’ mission that she’d leveraged $1.2 billion in private sector commitments to create new jobs in Central America.
The Border Patrol has recorded record-high months of illegal crossings at the southern border, including in September when there were more than 218,000 migrant encounters, October when there were more than 188,000 and in August when there were 181,000, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.
“I don’t think there’s been anything successful in regards to slowing down migrant flow and aiding border security since this administration took over,” Clem said.
The DCNF asked the White House, State Department and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for updates on Harris’ accomplishments in addressing the root issues of migration, but didn’t receive any responses.
Jennie Taer on December 17, 2023