Harris responds to criticism she hasn’t visited US Border

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei at the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on June 7.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei at the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on June 7. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris compared not visiting the US-Mexico border to not visiting Europe in an interview that aired, in part, on Tuesday morning, saying it didn’t mean she was “discounting the importance of the border.”

The interview was shot Monday while the vice president was visiting Guatemala before heading to Mexico on her first foreign trip since taking office. NBC’s Lester Holt questioned Harris about why she hasn’t visited the border despite her role on Central American migration.

“I– and I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t—” Harris responded, with a laugh, “I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.”

She continued, saying she cares, “about what’s happening at the border.”

“I’m in Guatemala because my focus is dealing with the root causes of migration. There may be some who think that that is not important, but it is my firm belief that if we care about what’s happening at the border, we better care about the root causes and address them,” Harris said. “And so that’s what I’m doing.”

The vice president and President Biden himself have been criticized, including by some in their own party, for not visiting the border as illegal crossings have surged. Last week, Rep. Henry Cuellar – a Texas Democrat – said it was “important” for the President and vice president to visit. 

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