Republicans reacted harshly Friday as Vice President Kamala Harris toured part of the southern border in El Paso, Texas.
''It only took more than half a million illegal immigrants entering the U.S., more than 400,000 pounds of drugs seized, dozens of U.S. Senators and House members traveling to the southern border, for Border Czar Kamala Harris to finally visit the southern border,'' Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, posted on Twitter Friday.
Harris had been under fire for not visiting the border for more than 90 days after President Joe Biden announced she would be leading the administration’s response to a surge in illegal immigration that intensified after Biden took office in January.
Some areas around the border — like the Laredo, Texas, sector — have reported a 1,000% increase in arrests of criminals coming across the border illegally.
Harris, who was criticized for not going to the southern border sooner, said in Texas Friday that the trip had been planned well ahead of time, going back to March.
''It was always the plan to come here, and I think we’re going to have a good productive day,'' Harris said after arriving in El Paso, PBS reported.
Harris went to Texas with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and met with five girls, ages 9-16, that were held at a Customs and Border Protection facility after coming across the border.
She said that the meeting reinforced the administration’s position that the immigration surge is caused by the problems, or ''root causes'' in the home countries like corruption, crime, and poverty, rather than the fluctuating U.S. policies that change with administrations.
''The stories that I heard today reinforce the nature of those root causes,'' she said in the PBS story, adding, ''It is going to require, as we have been doing, a comprehensive approach that acknowledges each piece of this.''
Former President Donald Trump, whose administration took a much harder line on illegal immigration, is scheduled to visit the region in a couple of days with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Friday, Trump took credit for Harris visiting the border because of the political pressure his announced visit caused.
''After months of ignoring the crisis at the Southern Border, it is great that we got Kamala Harris to finally go and see the tremendous destruction and death that they’ve created,'' Trump wrote in a statement sent to reporters.
Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows dismissed the visit as simply a ''photo op.''
''Unbelievable that after 93 days of crisis and hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants entering the U.S., Kamala Harris’ first border visit isn’t even a real border visit,'' Meadows tweeted Friday.'' It is a politically friendly photo op, hundreds of miles from where the actual crisis is taking place.''
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