President Biden has tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to be the point person on the administration’s talks with Mexico and Central American countries about slowing the tide of illegal immigrants crossing the US border.
The president told reporters at the White House Wednesday that he has asked Harris “to lead our efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle and the countries that are going to need help in stemming” migration.
He said the vice president is the most qualified person to head up the effort, pointing to her experience as California’s attorney general before she was elected to the Senate.
Biden acknowledged the “serious spikes” in migrants heading to the border and vowed to take ownership of the situation.
“This new surge we are dealing with now started in the past administration but it is our responsibility” to handle it, Biden claimed.
Harris will be involved in diplomacy and developing partnerships with Mexico and El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as working with the private sector to find solutions to the border rush.
Biden called it a “challenging situation” and said there is a need for the countries to enforce their laws and address the root causes – such as violent gangs, political upheaval, poverty, the coronavirus pandemic and the absence of economic opportunities.
Thousands of migrants have streamed to the border since Biden entered the White House, overwhelming the government’s detention facilities and leaving the administration scrambling to deal with the dramatic rise in numbers.