Kamala Harris skips US-Mexico border-security meeting, goes to New Jersey instead
The vice president visited a daycare center and vaccination site in the Garden State on Friday while other top Biden administration officials were in Mexico City
Several top members of the Biden administration were in Mexico City on Friday for a meeting with Mexican officials regarding security along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Vice President Kamala Harris wasn't among them.
Harris, whom President Biden appointed in March to manage the U.S. response to the migrant crisis along the border, went to New Jersey instead.
Attending Friday's high-level talks in Mexico's capital were Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado who now serves as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, also attended.
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"Today's High-Level Security Dialogue marks an important new phase in the US-Mexico security partnership," Mayorkas tweeted Friday. "We will work together under a new framework to guide our joint efforts, and work toward our shared goals of security and prosperity for our two nations."
Harris, meanwhile, traveled to the Garden State, visiting a daycare center at Montclair State University in Little Falls and a vaccination site at Essex County Community College in Newark to promote the Biden administration’s agenda.
The vice president last visited the border in June, spending several hours in El Paso, Texas, while on her way to her home in California. It’s the only time she’s been to the border since taking office.
She then traveled to Los Angeles again the very next weekend, spending the July 4 holiday at her home.
Harris has faced relentless criticism from Republicans, who say her avoidance of the border region has deprived her of valuable first-hand knowledge of border-related issues.
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"Vice President Harris is ignoring the real problem areas along our southern border that are not protected by the border wall and are being overrun by the federal government’s ill-thought-out, open border policies," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement ahead of her late June trip.
Harris and her spokespeople have countered that she has focused on behind-the-scenes discussions with Latin American leaders regarding the "root causes" of migration, such as poverty and political corruption in countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Likely in reaction to GOP criticism, Harris told potential migrants, "Do not come" to the U.S. when she visited Guatemala in early June.
She also raised eyebrows for faltering on questions asked by reporters about the border at the time.
"I haven't been to Europe. I mean, I don't understand the point you are making," Harris laughed off a question from "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt about whether she planned to go to the border before her June visit to Texas was scheduled.
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"Since March, Vice President Kamala Harris has been leading the Administration’s diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras," the White House said in a statement during the summer promoting its Root Causes Strategy plan. "She has worked with bilateral, multilateral, and private sector partners, as well as civil society leaders, to help people from the region find hope at home."
The White House didn’t immediately return Fox News’ late-night request for comment.