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Kamala Harris makes first trip to US-Mexico border as VP, says 'progress' is being made

Vice President Kamala Harris
Posted at 8:52 AM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 16:35:36-04

Vice President Kamala Harris visited El Paso, Texas, on Friday in her first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border since assuming office.

During her trip on Friday, Harris visited a border patrol station, met with advocates from faith-based non-government organizations and delivered public remarks.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas joined Harris in El Paso.

In remarks to the media, Harris told reporters that her visit reinforced her findings from a foreign trip to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month.

"The stories that I heard today reinforce the nature of those root causes," Harris said. "It is going to require, as we have been doing, a comprehensive approach that acknowledges each piece of this."

"In five months, we've made progress, but there's still more work to be done, but we've made progress," she later added.

President Joe Biden tasked Harris with addressing immigration after border officials reported encountering a record number of undocumented immigrants earlier this year.

Earlier this month, Harris took her first foreign trip as vice president to Guatemala and Mexico. While there, she spoke with leaders about collaborative efforts the U.S. and Northern Triangle countries could take stem immigration.

During that trip, Harris spoke directly to migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. and asked them to hold off on making the dangerous trip northward.

"Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border. There are legal methods by which migration can and should occur," Harris said.

She added that leaders in the U.S. and other North and Central American countries were working on solutions.

"The power of hope, the ability that each of our governments has to give people a sense that help is on the way," Harris said.

Harris chose not to visit the U.S.-Mexico border during that foreign trip, prompting criticism from Republican lawmakers.

"I think she should go to the border to get that off her back," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told McClatchy earlier this month.

Amid her trip, during an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, Harris compared visiting the border with visiting Europe.

"At some point, you know, we are going to the border," Harris said in the interview. "We've been to the border. So this whole, this whole, this whole thing about the border. We've been to the border. We've been to the border."

"You haven't been to the border," Holt responded.

"I, and I haven't been to Europe. And I mean, I don't — I don't understand the point that you're making," Harris said. "I'm not discounting the importance of the border."

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