South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman tore into Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday when he suggested it was ‘quite unfair’ to criticize
The Biden administration announced Harris would be the ‘border czar’ 86 days ago, but she still hasn’t been to the wall and has been under scrutiny for her visit to
Norman started the House Homeland Security Committee hearing by asking Mayorkas whether Harris should visit the border.
‘I consider that question to be quite unfair,’ Mayorkas replied.
‘You’re comments are just words, and they’re very unfair,’ Norman said. ‘I asked you a simple question, and I would like for you to just answer simply.
‘Does it make sense for the leaders of the free world to go in to talk and see what’s going on at the border?
South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman tore into Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday when he suggested it was ‘quite unfair’ to criticize Kamala Harris for not visiting the border
Norman and Mayorkas had their testy exchange in the House hearings as migrants continued to cross the Rio Grande on rafts to get to the border overnight on Thursday
Mayorkas responded by saying that Harris was the attorney general of a border state, California, and was ‘quite familiar with the situation’.
‘But she’s laughing at it!’ Norman fired back. ‘It’s an insult to say that you’re looking at the border wall … what do you have to look at? You’re not building it’.
As they conducted their hearing, more migrants continued crossing the Rio Grande near Roma, Texas, to begin their bid for asylum.
Photos showed men, women and children in rafts and wading in the water in the dead of night, trying to reach the US.
The tense exchange Norman and Mayorkas also came off the back of criticism over Kamala’s visit to Guatemala and Mexico and her testy responses to questions over whether she would visit the wall – that the Biden administration has vowed not to continue building.
In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, she laughed when he asked why she hadn’t visited the border.
‘And I haven’t been to Europe either,’ she responded.
Last Wednesday, Customs and Border Protection released figures that show illegal crossings have exploded by 674 per cent in a year.
Border guards confronted 180,034 migrants in May – the fourth consecutive monthly rise.
The figures show the number of migrants rocketed by more than six-fold from the 23,237 who crossed from Mexico into the United States in May 2020.
Last year’s number was far lower than usual because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but this year’s figures still spell worrying news for Joe Biden, with 2021 on-track to record the highest number of illegal border crossings since 2006.
A woman carrying her child makes her way to the border in Roma, Texas to begin her bid to seek asylum
A migrant drags a raft across the Rio Grande towards the border on Thursday night
Border guards holding flashlights guide migrants to be processed near Roma, Texas. Last Wednesday, Customs and Border Protection released figures that show illegal crossings have exploded by 674 per cent in a year
Women and children, some wearing facemasks, cross the Rio Grande near Roma, Texas, in a raft Thursday night
Single adults still represented the majority of border-crossers, data from the U.S. Border Patrol showed.
In May there was a decrease in the number of unaccompanied minors, from roughly 16,910 to 13,906, Border Patrol found.
The Biden administration announced Harris would be the ‘border czar’ 86 days ago, but she still hasn’t been to the wall and has been under scrutiny for her visit to Mexico and Guatemala two weeks ago to address the ‘root causes’ of migration
CBP also said that a majority of those who crossed the border were already expelled due to Title 42, which allows the U.S. government to quickly remove people using the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the 180,034 crossers, 112,302 had already been expelled.
CBP also pointed out,
Harris’ trip was meant to focus on the ‘root causes’ of migration that have led to families and unaccompanied children heading north to the border.
But she made a series of seemingly conflicting statements about her decision not to visit the border and enraged progressives by telling migrants: ‘Do not come’.
By the end of her trip, at a press conference in Mexico City with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Harris insisted the trip was a success.
‘Listen, I’ve been to the border before and I’ll go again,’ she said.
She also hinted that a border trip would be ‘short-sighted’, but did promise to visit without giving a date.
A border patrol agent with its headlights on follows a group of migrants making their way to processing centers
This chart shows how 2021 border crossings – pictured in blue – rocketed on crossings made in 2020, represented by the brown line (2018 is pictured in gray, with 2019 in orange)
This graph shows the number of migrants caught by the Office of Field Operation (OFO) and US Border Patrol agents in April and May
CNN reported that officials were concerned within the administration that whatever progress Harris had made on the leader-to-leader level might have been undermined by her conflicting answers and PR missteps.
‘It’s left some of the administration officials perplexed, and the vice president’s team frustrated,’ the network Wednesday.
‘There was hope the trip would be a success, and in the end, they feel it may have been overshadowed by some of her answers to these questions,’ the network reported.
She also snapped at reporters a few times when questioned about a border visit. Among those asking about it was a CNN correspondent. Fox News correspondents have been hounding the White House on the topic for weeks, so it was unlikely to have surprised her team.
At the same news conference where she said she would go to the border, Harris also shrugged off the idea.
I think it’s short-sighted, for any of us who are in the business of problem solving to suggest we’re only going to respond to the reaction as opposed to addressing the cause,’ she said.
It echoed her earlier comments in Guatemala, where she characterized such a visit as being for show.
‘I came here to be here on the ground, to speak with the leader of this nation around what we can do in a way that is significant, is tangible and has real results,’ she said.
‘And I will continue to be focused on that kind of work as opposed to grand gestures.’
There is an element of showmanship in any foreign trip – and Harris was not shy about calling her own first foreign foray a victory.
‘Do I declare this trip a success? Yes I do,’ she said.