by Zero Hedge
More than 50 House GOP lawmakers called on President Joe Biden to relieve Vice President Kamala Harris of her duties in handling the U.S.–Mexico border crisis.
The Republicans, as they have done for months, noted that Harris hasn’t yet visited the border amid a surge in illegal immigration. Some Democratic lawmakers who represent areas along the border have also called on the vice president to take more action, including a visit to the area.
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) and 55 other Republicans in the House demanded Harris’s removal from her border assignment, citing recent Customs and Border Protection data that shows that 180,000 people were apprehended last month after crossing the border illegally.
“Despite being in the midst of a border crisis this country has not seen in two decades, Vice President Harris has not yet shown adequate interest in observing this crisis first-hand,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter. “In the 85 days since the Vice President has been tasked with solving this crisis, she has yet to visit the border and meet with Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, and local law enforcement officials.”
Harris has defended not going to the border and said she will visit the border sometime in the future.
When she visited Mexico and Guatemala this month, Harris said that the “root causes” of the illegal immigration problem should be addressed. However, her explanation to reporters in Mexico about why she hasn’t visited the border yet overshadowed her trip, saying that the White House is aiming to boost economic development in the region.
She told reporters: “It would be very easy to say, ‘We’ll travel to one place, and therefore it’s solved.’ I don’t think anybody thinks that that would be the solution.” When pressed about visiting the border again, Harris said she did so when she was a senator from California.
Harris has also said that their mission primarily is diplomatic work focused on the “Northern Triangle” countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, as well as Mexico.
During a testy exchange last week between Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Mayorkas said that questions about Harris not having visited the border are “quite unfair and disrespectful.” Norman was one of the signatories of the letter asking Biden to relieve Harris of her duties.
Mayorkas said, “Let me be very clear, the president and the vice president have requested and directed me to visit the border, which I have done on multiple occasions.”
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) has become possibly the most vocal Democrat in the House about the border crisis. Last week, he wrote a letter to the vice president requesting she meet with him and visit the border, but he later told Fox News that he hasn’t heard back from her office.
“I encourage you to join me and other Members of Congress, while we visit with the people on the ground who deal with these issues every day,” Cuellar wrote. “I believe it is critical that you meet with local stakeholders and residents, consider their concerns, and use their lived experiences to implement more effective policies.”
Meanwhile, as Tom Ozimek also notes:
A dozen Republican senators have demanded the immediate release of a Biden administration blueprint for expanding and overhauling the immigration system, according to a draft document obtained by selected media but not yet disclosed to Congress or the general public.
In a joint letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (pdf), the senators demand the release of a 46-page draft called the “DHS Plan to Restore Trust in Our Legal Immigration System,” which was first reported by The New York Times and which reportedly maps out the Biden administration’s plans for significant expansion of the immigration system.
According to The New York Times, the blueprint “lists scores of initiatives intended to reopen the country to more immigrants,” while not just rolling back some Trump-era policies but also “addressing backlogs and delays that plagued prior presidents.” Most of the document’s policy proposals could not be implemented by executive authority, but would require a broader overhaul of U.S. immigration laws, according to the report.
In the letter, the GOP lawmakers allege that the blueprint “is being withheld from Congress and the American people,” which they find “particularly troubling given the ongoing crisis at the southern border.”
Since Biden took office, there has been a historic surge in illegal immigration, a situation Republicans have characterized as a “crisis” fueled by the the president’s policies. Biden administration officials have disputed that characterization, including Mayorkas, who in recent Senate testimony insisted on using the term “challenge” to describe the problem while insisting that the administration has a strategy to cope with it.
But the senators expressed concern that some of the policies the blueprint reportedly contains would serve to exacerbate the problem by accelerating the flow of illegal immigration into the United States.
“We are deeply concerned that these policies will act as a pull factor to continue drawing illegal immigrants to the country—much like the policies already being implemented by the Biden Administration,” they wrote.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the DHS with a request for comment on the GOP letter and seeking clarification on the timeline for the document’s release to the public.
The lawmakers also objected to what they characterized as President Joe Biden’s plans to “use and abuse executive authority to reshape our immigration system.”
“In addition, the policies allegedly proposed in this document would open up new ways for immigrants to enter the country legally that extend well beyond the plain text and meaning of the law,” they wrote. “While there are many rational suggestions for reform in this document, these are decisions that must be made by Congress, and Congress alone, and not by the stroke of the President’s pen,” they added.
“A decision with such serious public safety consequences should be open and accessible, but instead, DHS has kept this information from everyone except a media ally,” the senators wrote.
The letter was signed by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).