Since March 30, Harris has been on record for only two border-related tasks: a phone call with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on March 30 and a call with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on April 7.
By Tuesday’s end, Harris had gone 21 days – three full weeks – without visiting the border region or holding a news conference to answer reporters’ questions about her border-related role.
Both Harris and White House press secretary Jen Psaki have claimed the vice president plans to visit the border region soon but neither has supplied a specific date. President Biden also has not visited the border region since taking office.
On Tuesday, Harris’ seeming absence from border-related issues drew criticism from three Homeland Security officials who served in the Trump administration – former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, former acting deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli and former Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Mark Morgan.
“I’d say the vice president … needs to go to the border, needs to understand the conditions that are being experienced, needs to understand and talk to the men and women of the Border Patrol … because it’s all interrelated,” Wolf said at a Heritage Foundation news briefing.
On Monday, The Associated Press reported that the Biden administration had struck deals with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala whereby the Latin American nations agreed to increase security at their borders in an attempt to slow the progress of migrants trying to reach the U.S.
Psaki told reporters that Roberta Jacobson, the administration’s departing border-policy coordinator, was involved in negotiating the deal, but Psaki declined to disclose any details about whether Harris played a role, the AP reported.
On Tuesday, Harris attended an event in Washington to mark Black Maternal Health Week, where she led a discussion on why African American woman are two to three times more likely to die because of childbirth than other women, The Associated Press reported.
Harris claimed Black women were the victims of biases that result in them not receiving adequate treatment for conditions such as postpartum depression.
“Black women deserve to be heard,” Harris said. “And like all people, they must be treated with dignity.”
Also on Tuesday, Harris visited the Capitol Rotunda to pay her respects to Capitol Police Officer William Evans, 41, whose body was lying in honor after he was killed when a suspect rammed a vehicle into him at a barricade outside the Capitol. The suspect was later killed by police.
Harris arrived at the Rotunda hours after President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had paid their respects to the late officer, the New York Post reported.
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