Vice President Kamala Harris plans to visit the southern border on Friday, more than three months after President Joe Biden named her to take charge of the immigration surge, Politico reported Wednesday.
Harris has been criticized by Republicans and some Democrats for not having traveled to see the border crisis firsthand since being put in charge of the issue in on March 24.
Politico said Harris will visit El Paso, Texas, Friday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the trip. She is expected to be joined by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
Both a spokesperson for Harris and a DHS spokesperson declined to comment to Politico.
Arguing that her focus was on tackling the "root cause" forcing thousands of migrants from Central America to the border, Harris repeatedly has pushed back at criticism that neither she nor the president have gone to visit the U.S.-Mexico border.
She was blasted by critics for how she handled questions about not visiting the border during a recent trip to Guatemala and Mexico, and soon after her return.
On her first foreign trip as vice president, Harris sat for an interview with NBC News and drew criticism for how she handled a question about having not visited the southern border.
"And I haven't been to Europe," Harris said. "And I mean, I don't understand the point that you're making. I'm not discounting the importance of the border."
A few days later, Harris snapped at a Univision anchor during an interview performed remotely.
Harris’ scheduled trip to the border will occur five days before former President Donald Trump visits Texas to see the crisis in person. Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, and a group of House Republicans will join the former president.
The number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has increased dramatically since the Biden administration took office, Politico said. More than 180,000 migrants were apprehended at the border in May, according to monthly figures from Customs and Border Protection.
More than 112,00 of those migrants were denied entrance due to Title 42, a public health order invoked in March 2020 to prevent an influx on COVID-19.
Politico reported a record number of unaccompanied migrant children – a record of more than 18,800 in March, according to CBP figures -- have been taken into custody under the Biden administration. The number of young migrant arrivals has steadily decreased in April and May but remains well above that 2019 record.
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported some migrants rejected for asylum under the Trump administration’s "Remain in Mexico" policy will have their cases reconsidered by the Department of Homeland Security.
Earlier this week, it was reported the Biden administration was contemplating ending the enforcement of Title 42 as it relates to migrant families.
In early June, Biden officially ended the Migrant Protection Protocols, which allowed border officials to send migrants back to Mexico to wait for their cases to make it through the crowded U.S. immigration system.
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