- Official says Harris aides appeared to ‘panic’ when Biden put her in charge of tackling migrant surge
- They reportedly worried she would be politically damaged through link to increasing arrivals at southern border
- But her team insisted her role is to work diplomatic channels with Central American government rather than run the border
Kamala Harris’s team is trying to distance the vice president from the border crisis after ‘panicking’ when she was given the assignment by President Biden, according to a new report.
Harris is due to travel to Guatemala and Mexico next week as part of her role in leading diplomatic efforts to reduce immigration from Central American countries as the administration tackles a steep increase in migrant crossings.
It puts her in the firing line of conservatives and at the forefront of one of the most difficult problems facing the White House.
As a result, aides have been briefing that her role is tackle conditions in Central America that push migrants to leave rather than managing the southern border.
A White House official said Harris aides appeared to ‘panic,’ according to CNN, saying they were worried that it could be politically harmful if she was directly linked to rising numbers of arrivals.
Harris wanted a portfolio that would deliver victories, according to the report, especially on foreign policy.
But other officials told DailyMail.com the issue had been mischaracterized and that Harris was running a broad range of diplomatic efforts – not the border itself.
Symone Sanders, senior adviser to Harris, said: ‘The vice president’s work is not happening in a vacuum.
‘We are all part of one team and much of the work the administration does is a whole of government approach. This applies to the work on migration and the border.
‘Furthermore, specifically as it relates to the US Mexico relationship… it is broad.
‘We talk about a wide range of issues with them: migration, economic, security and border are just a few.’
Biden announced Harris’ role in March, telling reporters she had been appointed ‘because she’s the most qualified person to do it, to lead our efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle, and the countries that can help, need help in stemming the movement of so many folks, stemming the migration to our southern border.’
Harris herself admitted the role was challenging.
‘We have to give people some sense of hope that if they stay, that help is on the way,’ she told CNN’s Dana Bash.
‘It’s not going to be solved overnight; it’s a complex issue. If this were easy, it would’ve been handled years ago.’
Critics have focused on the border rather than her calls with foreign leaders, labeling her Biden’s ‘border czar.’
‘Everything you’re doing in Central America is always towards an eye on the border and what’s happening in the United States,’ Cris Ramon, an immigration consultant, told CNN.
‘With the current dynamics in migration, what’s happening at the US-Mexico border has implications in the Northern Triangle and vice versa.’