Darrell Issa invites VP Harris to visit the California-Mexico border

Issa extended his invitation to Harris via Twitter

EXCLUSIVE - Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., invited Vice President Harris to visit the U.S.-Mexico border just miles from his district on the outskirts of San Diego.

"The conditions that she saw at the border when she was a senator … have deteriorated as a result of the policies of this administration, and she needs to see that firsthand," Issa told Fox News in an exclusive interview. "Anyone who sees that will, in fact, make a decision that some of the polices implemented in the first 100 days of this administration need to be reversed. … Unless you want open borders." 

HARRIS SAYS SHE WILL VISIT THE SOUTHERN BORDER BUT DOES NOT INDICATE WHEN

Issa extended his invitation to Harris via Twitter and his office said he planned to send a letter to the White House as well.

"The reason I want her to come see the border in San Diego is we had a border system, border fences that lowered crime and allowed Border Patrol to effectively and efficiently protect us from drug smugglers, human traffickers," Issa told Fox News. "We have the busiest land port of entry in the world, and we’re expanding it."

Harris returned to the U.S. this week after visiting Guatemala and Mexico. On Tuesday, she said she will visit the U.S.-Mexico border but did not say when. 

"Yes, I will and I have before," Harris in response to a question about whether she would visit the U.S. southern border. "Listen, anybody, especially if you’re from California you know,  I've spent a lot of time on the border both going there physically and aware of the issues."

The White House has emphasized the "root causes" of the crisis, like poverty, climate change and violence in Central America, and has said that Harris is not in charge of the border per se but the diplomatic outreach to combat the root causes. 

"Nothing changed in the last six months in Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. All the changes were in the United States. It was who was president and what was the policies at the border," Issa told Fox News. "To look for root causes is fine, but to look for the change that led to more than 100,000 people a month being admitted to the U.S. … that is this administration, not the root causes."

Issa said he will visit the U.S.-Mexico border with Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., on Friday.

HARRIS, IN GUATEMALA, TELLS POTENTIAL MIGRANTS THEY WILL BE TURNED BACK

In an interview with NBC News that aired Tuesday, Harris laughed off a question about why she hasn't yet been to the border.

"And I haven't been to Europe," she said "I don't understand the point that you’re making."

Vice President Kamala Harris and Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, pose for an official photograph, Monday, June 7, 2021, at the National Palace in Guatemala City. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Vice President Kamala Harris and Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, pose for an official photograph, Monday, June 7, 2021, at the National Palace in Guatemala City. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP)

But by Tuesday evening, she said she would visit the border, although she emphasized her belief that dealing with the root causes in Central America was a key aspect in solving the continuing border crisis – which has seen a spike in migration, including more than 178,000 migrant encounters and more than 13,000 unaccompanied children in April alone.

Despite the controversy over the border visit, Harris declared her visits to Central America a success, claiming she had been "successful in making progress."

She touted agreements in Guatemala that set up anti-corruption and anti-smuggling task forces as well as an initiative to promote education and employment opportunities for women and girls.

As for what had been achieved in Mexico, she highlighted a $130 million U.S. investment in Mexican workers’ protections and labor reform, as well as further partnering to address human trafficking and smuggling organizations and a strategic partnership to address root causes of migration in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

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However, when asked whether Mexico had agreed take back more migrant families turned back from the U.S. due to Title 42 public health protections, Harris said, "We didn't discuss Title 42."

Harris also warned that the issue of the "root causes" would not be solved immediately in a single trip.

"So this work is the work that must be done with a commitment to going deep and making a commitment over a period of time, knowing that nothing that we can do will address it overnight," she said.

Fox News' inquiry to Harris' office about Issa's invitation was not returned at the time of publication.

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.