What to Know
- Vice President Harris will make her first trip to the Texas-Mexico border on Friday, June 25.
- Harris will visit El Paso with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
- Former President Donald Trump to visit the border with Gov. Greg Abbott on June 30.
Vice President Kamala Harris plans to visit Texas Friday, taking her first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border just days before former President Donald Trump is scheduled to arrive on a visit with Gov. Greg Abbott.
Harris' visit comes nearly three months after President Joe Biden put her in charge of slowing the number of migrants arriving at the border. Republicans have hammered Harris and Biden for refusing to visit the border in person during the first few months of their administration as more and more migrants arrive at the border.
Harris' spokeswoman Symone Sanders said Wednesday the vice president will go to El Paso on June 25 with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
"Earlier this year, the President asked the Vice President to oversee our diplomatic efforts to address the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. As a part of this ongoing work, the Vice President traveled to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month and will travel to El Paso on Friday," Harris's office said in a statement.
In an interview with NBC News' Lester Holt earlier this month from Guatemala, Harris said they would eventually visit the border.
"At some point, you know, we are going to the border," Harris told Holt. "We've been to the border. So this whole thing about the border. We've been to the border. We've been to the border."
"You haven't been to the border," Lester Holt responded, specifically saying she had not physically visited the border.
"And I haven't been to Europe," she replied. "And I mean, I don't understand the point that you're making. I'm not discounting the importance of the border."
Harris said she was dealing with the root causes of migration.
"It is my firm belief that if we care about what is happening at the border we better care about the root causes and address them," Harris told Holt. "That's what I'm doing."
Harris' trip to El Paso will come less than a week before a visit by former President Donald Trump who was asked to visit the southern border along with Gov. Greg Abbott.
The Texas governor issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying Harris needs to visit the area of the border near Del Rio, about 370 miles to the southeast of El Paso, where he said Texans are being overrun by gangs and smugglers.
"Vice President Harris is ignoring the real problem areas along our southern border that are not protected by the border wall and are being overrun by the federal government's ill-thought-out open border policies. She 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," Abbott said. "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."
In his statement, Abbott went on to talk about the state's efforts to battle crime along the border through Operation Lone Star. Abbot said since the operation was launched in March the DPS "has arrested over 1,700 criminals, apprehended over 41,000 migrants, and seized enough fentanyl to kill over 21 million people."
"Texas has been and continues to step up to protect Texans and Americans," Abbott said.
Del Rio, the area Abbott said Harris should visit, is across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña where a journalist was found stabbed to death Tuesday. He is the fourth killed in the country this year. Press groups say nine journalists were killed in Mexico in 2020, making it the most dangerous country for reporters outside of war zones.
After learning Harris was headed to the border before him, CNBC reported Trump took credit for pushing the vice president to make the trip, saying in a statement, "If Gov. Abbott and I weren't going there next week, she would have never gone!"
On Monday, the former president issued a statement saying he'd accepted Abbott's invitation to "join him on an official visit to our Nation's decimated Southern Border." Trump, too, criticized Biden and Harris for not visiting the border he described as an "unmitigated disaster zone."