Psaki Says Harris' 'Focus Is Not On the Border' But On the 'Root Causes' of Illegal Immigration

Brittany M. Hughes | April 27, 2021
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The White House on Monday tried to push back on claims that Vice President Kamala Harris isn’t dealing with the ongoing illegal immigration crisis at the Southwest U.S. border, saying that the vice president’s “focus is not on the border,” but rather on prioritizing the “root causes” of illegal immigration.

When asked why Harris has yet to visit the U.S. border with Mexico in the more than a month since being tasked with dealing with the record influx of illegal aliens, Psaki responded that she would “have to ask her team about that specifically, but I would tell you also that her focus is not on the border.”

“It’s on addressing the root causes in the Northern Triangle,” Psaki said. “That’s why the majority of her time has been spent on working on a diplomatic level.”

“She’s working with them to ensure there are systems put in place to reduce the amount of migration coming from these countries but also to address the root causes and that’s really what the president has asked her to do,” Psaki said.

Psaki also blamed "security concerns" for why Harris hasn't visited any of the border detention centers or overflow facilities being used to house migrant children.

“If a president or a vice president goes down and visits a facility like this you have to potentially clear some parts out, there’s a lot of security that comes. Our focus here is on solutions, on making progress, on moving these kids out of these facilities, on getting connected with sponsor homes, with family members, if possible.”

While those “root causes” of illegal immigration – largely driven by poverty, violence and oppressive governments – have always existed across Central America, immigration experts have repeatedly pointed to President Joe Biden’s open-border policies as the primary driver for the current surge of people streaming in unlawfully from Mexico. Upon first entering office, Biden took a number of steps to reverse Trump-era immigration policies that had largely driven down illegal immigration, including the former president’s “Remain in Mexico” policy that required asylum seekers to stay put across the border until their cases could be adjudicated by an immigration judge in the U.S. That reversal immediately triggered an overwhelming wave of illegal migrants making their way across the border to be processed in the U.S., with tens of thousands of unaccompanied children sent to newly opened overflow facilities across multiple states and families being put on buses without even being given orders to appear in court.

Since being tapped to head up the administration’s response to the escalating crisis, Harris has so far refused to visit the border or hold a press conference on the issue, instead spending much of her time flying to blue states promoting Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.

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