US: Kamala Harris to visit Mexico border
Washington, June 25: Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to visit the US border with Mexico on Friday.
It will be Harris' first trip to the border as vice president. It comes as the Biden administration faces criticism from Republicans over its handling of the migrant crisis.
What will Harris do on the visit?
Harris will visit El Paso, a major city in Texas which lies on the border. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will accompany Harris on her visit.
Symone Sanders, the chief spokesperson for the vice president, said Harris will visit the El Paso central processing center and meet with migrants.
President Joe Biden has tasked Harris with the issue of immigration.
Sanders told reporters Thursday that the Biden administration inherited "a broken and inhumane immigration system." She also blamed former President Donald Trump for poor conditions at the border.
"The previous administration's policies led to chaos at the border, family separation, inhumane conditions, dismal diplomacy towards and with Central America," Sanders said.
Record number of migrants come to US border
The numbers of migrants reaching the US border with Mexico has surged under the Biden administration. In May, US Customs and Border Protection detained over 180,000 migrants, the highest figure since 2000.
Many of these migrants come not only from Mexico, but also other Latin American countries such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba. Some migrants also journey to the border from Haiti and African countries.
Harris previously visited Mexico and Guatemala earlier this month to address the "root causes" of migration.
She was criticized for not giving a direct answer to why she had not visited the border so far in a broadcast interview, with the vice president laughing and saying she hadn't "been to Europe" either.
Republicans make border crisis top issue ahead of midterms
Republicans have made the Biden administration's handling of the border crisis a major point of criticism ahead of midterm elections next year.
A group of House Republicans will visit the border next week, along with former President Donald Trump.
The former president made border security and illegal immigration key focuses of his administration and presidential campaigns. He used emergency executive powers as president to bypass Congress and divert funding from the Pentagon for a border wall with Mexico.
Biden has reversed Trump's wall plans since taking office. Biden has also dropped Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy. This forces migrants to stay in Mexico until they receive court decisions on their asylum cases.
Republicans hope that they can portray Biden and the Democrats as weak on illegal immigration and border security. They believe this messaging will allow them to take back the House and Senate in midterm elections next year.