Vice President Kamala Harris was tapped two weeks ago to “lead efforts” to stem the crisis on the southern border — but she still has not visited the crossing, nor has she held a press conference.
President Biden tapped Harris on March 24 to lead the diplomatic effort to address the illegal migrant surge, but so far she hasn’t held a call other than to Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss the “root causes” of the crisis on March 30.
The two talked about increasing humanitarian assistance to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
“They agreed to explore innovative opportunities to create jobs and to improve the conditions for all people in Guatemala and the region, including by promoting transparency and combating crime,” the White House readout of the call said.
In her first two weeks as czar, she has traveled to Connecticut, Chicago, Brentwood, Calif., and then to Oakland over the Easter weekend.
She has presided over swearing-in ceremonies, touted the administration’s coronavirus stimulus package, the COVID response, visited vaccine sites, lunched with the president, attended a cabinet meeting, held listening sessions with faith leaders and small-business owners, her public schedule showed.
In an interview on “CBS This Morning” the day she was named by the president to be the border czar, Harris acknowledged that the administration is facing a “huge problem,” but stopped short of admitting a crisis.
“Are we looking at overcrowding at the border, particularly these kids? Yes. Should these kids be in the custody of HHS, the Health and Human Services, instead of the Border Patrol? Yes. Should we be processing these cases faster? Yes,” she told the morning show.
“This is, however, not going to be solved overnight.”
In her first full day after being appointed, March 25, Harris participated in a White House virtual Passover celebration with second gentleman Doug Emhoff.
That night, an aide to former President Donald Trump said Trump was considering traveling to the border “soon” to observe the situation.
The next day, March 26, Harris traveled to New Haven, Conn., with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to visit a Boys & Girls Club to talk about how the coronavirus relief plan affects child poverty and education.
She also took part in an “empowering women and girls” webcast with former President Bill Clinton.
Harris had no public schedule over the weekend, March 27 and 28.
On March 28, it was reported that, according to leaked documents, the Biden administration predicts the surge of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border will smash records and continue for the next six months.
The White House said the number of minors could soar to 26,000 a month in September, dwarfing the 16,000 crossing into the US in March, Axios reported at the time.
On March 29, she joined the president when he delivered remarks about the administration’s COVID response and vaccine rollout.
On the same day, Border Patrol agents announced they had arrested a Mexican man who had been convicted of a sex offense in the US after he illegally crossed the southern border in California.
The 32-year-old man entered the US about 15 miles east of the Calexico Port, Customs and Border Patrol said in a statement at the time.
The next day, she was with the president at the White House when he signed the PPP Extension Act of 2021.
She held a discussion with faith leaders on March 31, asking them to speak to their congregations about the need to get vaccinated.
Harris made a call to the Guatemalan president as well about the migrant surge.
A day later, Border Patrol agent Gloria Chavez shared a heart-stopping video of smugglers abandoning two little girls in the New Mexico desert in the middle of the night, after dropping them over a 14-foot-high fence.
The smugglers can be seen scaling the fence and dropping the 5-year-old and 3-year-old to the hard ground and throwing items that appear to be belongings after them.
On April 1, she held more discussions about the coronavirus, had lunch with Biden and attended the first cabinet meeting.
She and her husband jetted off to California that night, where they stayed without any public events for the Easter weekend.
On Monday, she appeared in Oakland with the state’s embattled governor, Gavin Newsom, before returning to LA.
That same day, federal authorities revealed that two Yemeni men on the FBI’s terror watchlist had been arrested in recent months for illegally entering the US from Mexico.
The men, ages 33 and 26, were busted near the Calexico Port of Entry in California in separate incidents on Jan. 29 and March 30, CBP said.
The older man was found with a mobile phone SIM card under the insole of his shoe, the agency also said.
The next morning, she traveled to Chicago, where she toured a vaccination site before returning to DC.
Asked on March 22 if she planned to visit the US-Mexico border amid the unfolding humanitarian crisis, Harris responded, “Not today,” before letting out a belly laugh. “But I have before, and I’m sure I will again.”