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Texas governor accuses Kamala Harris of ‘ignoring problem areas’ at border

Texas Gov Greg Abbott has said Vice President Kamala Harris will ‘fail in her mission’ if she does not visit the Del Rio sector of the border

Chantal da Silva
Friday 25 June 2021 17:56 BST
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After months of pressure from Republicans to visit the US-Mexico border amid a rise in arrivals of migrants and asylum-seekers, Vice President Kamala Harris made the trip on Friday. But that still may not be enough to appease some GOP leaders, with Texas Gov Greg Abbott accusing the VP of avoiding “problem areas” of the border.

Ms Harris landed in El Paso on Friday after facing growing pressure from Republicans to visit the US-Mexico border as part of her mandate to address the root causes of migration to the US-Mexico border that has seen record arrivals of migrants and asylum seekers this year.

Speaking with reporters upon arrival in Texas, the vice president said it had always been her plan to visit the border, shooting down claims from former President Donald Trump that his own plans for a border trip next week had pushed Ms Harris to plot out her own visit.

“The reality of it is that we have to deal with causes, and we have to deal with the effects," Ms Harris told reporters after arriving in El Paso, according to The Washington Post.

Noting that she had recently visited Guatemala and Mexico to discuss the situation at the border with a focus on the root causes driving migration to the US, Ms Harris said the trip was about identifying those root causes while the border visit is about looking at their impacts.

In a statement published online after Ms Harris’s plans to visit the border were announced earlier this week, Mr Abbott suggested that the vice president would “fail in her mission”, however, if she ignored “problem areas” along the southern border.

In his statement, Mr Abbott accused Ms Harris of “ignoring the problem areas on our southern border that are being overrun by [President Joe Biden’s] reckless open border policies”.

In specific, he suggested that Ms Harris “will fail in her mission if she refuses to speak to residents of the Del Rio sector whose homes and ranches are being overrun by gangs and smugglers”.

“The vice president was named Border Czar over 90 days ago, and in that time Texans have had their homes broken into, property damaged, and guns pointed at their heads as cartels, smugglers, and human traffickers profit off the Biden Administration’s reckless open-border policies,” Mr Abbott said.

Del Rio is about 370 miles to the southeast of El Paso, and Ms Harris has not announced any plans to visit that part of the border.

Ms Harris’ schedule includes a stop at the Paso del Norte Port of Entry and talks with representatives from faith-based organisations, as well as with shelter and legal service providers.

Mr Trump is expected to visit the US-Mexico border in Texas this upcoming Wednesday, with Mr Abbott by his side.

He will also be joined by a number of Republican representatives with the Republican Study Committee, the biggest caucus of the House GOP.

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