08:14 GMT11 April 2021
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    President Joe Biden has tapped “the most qualified person” for the job - Vice President Kamala Harris - to lead talks with Mexico and other countries on the migrant surge issue, while himself previously telling journalists that he plans to visit the southern US border “at some point”.

    As President Joe Biden has deputized Kamala Harris to lead the efforts to resolve the migrant surge “challenge” on the southern US border with Mexico, the Vice President has remained curiously silent on the matter, reported Fox News.

    In fact, the only tangible response on the extremely volatile developments so far from Harris has been to laugh out loud when asked whether she planned to visit the southern border.

    As photos of people sleeping on the ground in crammed ‘pods’ at border facilities emerged online, Harris spoke to reporters at a Florida airport before going on the "Help is Here" tour of the nation on Monday.

    Questioned regarding her timeline for visiting the overwhelmed migrant processing facilities, Harris quipped, "Not today!" before laughing loudly. "But I have before, and I'm sure I will again", she added.

    ​The seemingly inappropriate reaction to the situation which is threatening to spiral out of control led Republican lawmakers to rip into the former attorney general.

    Sen. Ted Cruz, who among others who has been reproaching the administration for significantly restricted media access to border detention centres, has written to Joe Biden to criticise him for denying that what was happening at the border was a crisis.

    Steve Guest, a special adviser for communications for Sen. Cruz, tweeted that "apparently, the border crisis is now a laughing matter for the Biden administration".

    Apparently nothing changed after President Biden officially tapped the VP on 24 March to lead in efforts with “Mexico and the Northern Triangle and the countries that are going to need help in stemming” migration, adding that the vice president was the “most qualified person” for the task at hand.

    ​There is currently no evidence that Kamala Harris has any immediate plans to travel south or even address the issue, writes the outlet.

    According to the Office of the Vice President, the Vice President had no events this past weekend and no mention of border-related activity.

    Government volunteers are currently being enlisted by the Biden administration to help with the migrant surge, reported Fox News, citing memos ostensibly dispatched by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to agency heads seeking "volunteer deployments" for up to 120 days.

    "We are actively working to screen, process and deploy these volunteers while continuing our recruitment efforts and exploration of other avenues to bolster staff resources at the border," an OPM spokesperson was cited as saying.

    As for blatantly MIA Harris, she is currently frustrated with the delay in ongoing renovations being made to the vice president’s mansion - Number One Observatory Circle.

    ​The three-story hilltop mansion, located on the secluded grounds of the US Naval Observatory, was built in 1893, and for 30 years served as the home of the superintendent of the US Naval Observatory. It was later the official residence for the chief of naval operations until Congress designated the house as the home of the vice president in 1974.

    Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff have been forced to take up temporarily lodgings at Blair House, the president’s official guest quarters, virtually living "out of suitcases”.

    There has been no explanation offered by the administration regarding the delays.

    ​Last week Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, along with Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind. And a group of Republican senators paid a visit to a US border facility overwhelmed by migrant children.

    ​As they shared their reports, with Cruz tweeting several videos and photos from the Donna, Texas, holding centre which is at 700 percent capacity amid a surge in migrants, Sen. Mike Braun penned a letter to President Biden on Saturday, first cited by Fox News, to urge him to travel to the border to witness the "inhumane" and "dangerous" migrant crisis.

    Despite the outcry, President Joe Biden, during his Thursday press event downplayed the developments at the border, claiming "there is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March."

    Biden also previously told journalists that he plans to visit the southern US border “at some point”.

    Volatile Border Crisis

    Debates over the surging number of illegal immigrants under the Biden administration have gathered steam since the Democratic president's inauguration.

    Asylum-seeking migrants' families walk towards the border wall after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico, in Penitas, Texas, U.S., March 26, 2021.
    © REUTERS / GO NAKAMURA
    Asylum-seeking migrants' families walk towards the border wall after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico, in Penitas, Texas, U.S., March 26, 2021.

    Since coming into office, Joe Biden has acted on his campaign pledges and reversed several Trump-era “zero-tolerance” hard immigration laws, such as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which requires that migrants from Central American countries wait for asylum hearings outside the US.

    Construction of the border wall was halted, while the so-called “Asylum Cooperative Agreements” with the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were suspended and a process was initiated to terminate them.

    Joe Biden also began admitting migrant children into the country, while expelling most families and single adults. Increased numbers of children being accepted into the US has led to overcrowding in short-term facilities run by Customs and Border Protection.

    ​There were more than 18,000 unaccompanied minors in either Border Protection or Health and Human Services custody as of 25 March, according to Homeland Security records.

    Overall, there has been a tremendous surge in migrant families, unaccompanied minors and single adults arriving at the US-Mexico border.
    In February, federal agents registered 100,441 migrants at the Southwest border - nearly three times the total of February 2020, according to US Customs and Border Protection.

     

    Related:

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    Biden on Trump's Plan to Visit Southern Border: 'I Don’t Care About What the Other Guy Does'
    ‘Somebody Else Is Supposed to Be Doing It': Trump Says He May Visit US Southern Border Soon
    GOP Senators Say No Immigration Reform on Table Until Border 'Crisis' Resolved
    Kamala Harris Still Hasn't Scheduled Mexico Border Visit as Donald Trump Considering Trip
    Tags:
    US-Mexico border, US-Mexico Border, Migrants, migrants, Customs and Border Protection, US Customs and Border Protection (CPB), Donald Trump, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden
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