Next week will see the first foreign trips by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, more than four months after the two entered the White House in their current capacity.
To be more exact, Harris will kick off her tour already this Sunday when she will travel to Guatemala to sit down with President Alejandro Giammattei and other leaders to discuss the "root causes" of migration.
After the Guatemala negotiations, the US vice president is due to visit Mexico on 8 June, for similar talks with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his advisers before returning to Washington in the evening of that day.
President Biden, for his part, will attend the 11-13 June G7 economic summit in Cornwall, England, in what will be followed by his and First Lady Jill Biden’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.
POTUS will also visit Belgium for a NATO summit and will then hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On top of that, Biden’s foreign tour includes a 16 June face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
Democratic Congressman Encourages Biden, Harris ‘to Come Visit’ US Southern Border
Biden and Harris are packing their bags amid ongoing criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats over the two’s failure to visit the US southern border amid a migration crisis, despite the fact that both assumed office back in late January.
Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), tweeted on Saturday night that Harris “should stop at the US border on her way to Mexico and Guatemala tomorrow to see Biden’s record-breaking border crisis firsthand”.
Kamala Harris should stop at the US border on her way to Mexico and Guatemala tomorrow to see Biden’s record-breaking border crisis firsthand.— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) June 6, 2021
McDaniel was echoed by Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar, who told Fox News that he and his supporters “certainly encourage the vice president, [and] the president to come visit the [southern] border”, where migrant arrivals show no sign of abating.
“I think it's important, but I guess he'll do it on their own time and terms”, Cuellar added, calling for more homeland investigators to be tasked with tackling drug cartels which, control “most of the property or the territory on the other side of the border”.
US Migration Crisis
The White House has repeatedly called the issue a "vital human challenge" instead of a "migration crisis", although US government data has showed that southern border apprehensions soared by over 70% in March, when there were 172,331 migrant encounters recorded, becoming the highest monthly total in more than two decades. In April, the figure increased to 178,000.
The logjam began after Biden started to reverse Trump's hardline immigration policies upon assuming office on 20 January 2021. In particular, POTUS halted construction of a border wall, moved to end "harsh and extreme immigration enforcement", and pledged to "restore and expand" the asylum system.
The severity of the crisis, however, has apparently pushed the Biden administration to mull bringing back some of Trump’s migration policies. In April, media reports claimed that the US president was considering resuming the construction of the border wall to "plug gaps" in the current network of barriers to contain migration flows.