After many weeks of criticism from Republicans, Vice President Kamala Harris finally visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday. Her main takeaway: the crisis at the border should not be reduced to partisan politics.

“[The migrants] were asking me questions: ‘How do you become the first woman vice president?'” she said. “It also reminds me of the fact that this issue cannot be reduced to a political issue. We are talking about children. We are talking about families. We are talking about suffering.”

She also added that it was always her plan to visit the border, even amid criticism this time that she should have visited the lower Rio Grande Valley, which is considered the epicenter of the migration crisis instead of visiting El Paso.


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Harris and Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the secretary of homeland security, fielded questions posed by reporters. One dealt with the V.P. not visiting the tent complex at Fort Bliss, and another one questioned the Biden Administration’s goal to end Trump’s Title-42 rule, which allows the U.S. government to force migrants and asylum seekers out of the country for public health reasons.

Harris said that she visited El Paso specifically because it was the site where former President Donald Trump implemented the child separation policy. The Biden administration announced that Xavier Becerra, the secretary of health and human services, would travel to Fort Bliss next week. Harris noted that any decision related to Title 42 would be up to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While Harris was praised by some Democrats, like Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ilinois) for her trip, even as other Democrats, like Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), said that she should have spoken more to local officials, landowners and border patrol agents.

Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) will travel to the border in the coming week.

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