An Iowa Republican is pushing for legislation that would bar Vice President Kamala Harris from making any international trips until she visited the increasingly chaotic U.S.-Mexico border, something she has not done since President Joe Biden placed her in charge of overseeing the crisis in latter March.
U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson took to the floor of the House Monday to push for the legislation, which comes as illegal border crossings and trafficking of migrant children and drugs reached new records last month. Also, Hinson’s call followed Harris’ first international trip, which was to Guatemala and Mexico, and focused on the “root causes” of the crisis.
Republicans have blamed Biden’s reversal of former President Donald Trump’s enforcement policies, which included halting wall construction and ending agreements with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala to hold or take back migrants. GOP lawmakers have said Trump’s policies, which took shape throughout his four-year term, ultimately led to the lowest level of illegal immigration in decades.
As for Harris, she has regularly faced criticism from Republicans and some Democrats for refusing to visit the border to get a first-hand look at the situation, which they say would help her better understand the nature and scope of the crisis and could then help her solve it more quickly.
FLOOR ALERT: @HouseDemocrats just blocked @GReschenthaler's request to consider @RepAshleyHinson's bill that would force the @VP to see firsthand the border crisis she was tasked with addressing 82 DAYS ago, before, you know, going to Europe. cc: @RepChipRoy pic.twitter.com/hvnQSolfZj
— House Rules Republicans (@RulesReps) June 14, 2021
“This crisis is worsening by the day. Yet, the vice president has refused to go to the border herself and talk to the brave law enforcement officers, the men and women who are fighting this on the frontlines. This out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach is a disgrace,” Hinson said on the floor of the House.
Hinson also railed at Harris over places she has visited instead.
“She’s been to yarn shops, she’s been to bakeries, and she just flew right over the crisis at our southern border to meet with foreign countries with the taxpayer’s checkbook in hand,” the GOP lawmaker said.
“When asked why she hasn’t visited the border, she laughed. She laughed, and this is no laughing matter. The border crisis impacts the safety and security of every Iowan, of every American. Every state is a border state right now,” she continued.
Hinson asked for her motion to be considered immediately, but the Democratic majority leadership rejected her. House Rules Committee chair Jim McGovern, D-Mass., called her measure unserious and not worthy of any further discussion.
Harris, in an interview with a Univision reporter last week, got testy when she was repeatedly asked when she would make a border visit., though the vice president did say she would while she declined to elaborate on a future date.
Meanwhile, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has repeatedly defended his agency’s handling of the border crisis.
“We continue to see the irregular migration of unaccompanied children, but we continue in our success of managing that flow, moving those children more rapidly to HHS [Health and Human Services] shelters that are properly equipped to address the needs of unaccompanied children,” he told the House Appropriations Committee in late May.
Republicans were unsatisfied.
“Are there no consequences for illegally crossing the border at this point because frankly, it appears that President Biden’s message to one and all is that the U.S. has no limits to whom can come because the administration will not enforce any of its immigration laws,” Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) asked Mayorkas. “Is that the message, that this country will not enforce its immigration laws?”
“No, it is not,” Mayorkas responded.
“The president could not have been clearer in his articulation of this administration’s position nor could I have been clearer and continue to be so, which is the border is closed and this administration administers and enforces the laws of the United States of America — and that is not only the laws of accountability but also the humanitarian laws that Congress passed many years ago,” he added.
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