Southern Border Crisis: Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar Pleads with Kamala Harris to Visit Border

Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks during a press conference at the Sofitel Mexico City Reforma hotel in Mexico City, Mexico, June 8, 2021. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Representative Henry Cuellar sent a letter to Vice President Harris Tuesday pleading with her to accompany him to the southern border and observe the worsening crisis there, citing the “severe burdens” the massive influx of migrant crossings has imposed on border patrol personnel and resources.

While Harris has received loud criticism from the opposing party and from Texas Democrats for her absence at the border, a responsibility she was charged with managing months ago.

In the document, first acquired by the Washington Post, Cuellar says, “I write to invite you to the U.S. Southern Border to observe the ongoing humanitarian crisis and share the perspective of Americans who live there. 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 notes that the “rapid rise in the number of migrants arriving at our Southern Border has placed severe burdens on our communities.”

The bottom line conclusion of the letter read, “The situation on the border will only worsen, as more migrants are expected to arrive. The Administration needs to take a proactive approach to create a sustainable system of humanitarian aid and relieve everyday Americans of that responsibility.”

The letter echoes a sentiment Cuellar expressed in an interview with National Review.

“We don’t just go visit the border, we live at the border. We talk to the NGOs there, we talk to the mayors, the county judges, to the border patrol, to the men and women in blue, green, and other folks, ICE agents also. We understand this very well,” Cuellar said at the time  “I still will encourage them to do more, to reach out to the folks on the border communities and keep talking to them, to make sure that they get a balanced view of what’s happening there at the border itself.”

The letter comes after Harris participated in a joint press conference with the president of Guatemala, as part of a diplomatic tour of Central America. She has claims that she is prioritizing identifying and solving the underlying catalysts of migration.

When a reporter asked Harris whether she intends to visit the border, where a crisis is still unfolding, she responded that she prefers to address the root causes of immigration in the Northern Triangle over engaging in “grand gestures,” despite Republican demands.

In a messaging reversal for the administration, however, Harris did deliver a warning to potential migrants considering making the journey. “Do not come,” she said during the press briefing, in a statement that appeared intended to deter rather than invite future immigration.

For some Democrats in Congress, such as Cuellar whose district in Texas borders Mexico, the border situation is a great concern that urgently requires attention. Cuellar has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s border and immigration policies, urging Biden and Harris to crack down on border enforcement to discourage migrants from seeking entry into the United States.

In Harris’s void, former president Donald Trump declared Tuesday that he would join Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the border on June 30.

“What Biden and Harris have done, and are continuing to do on our border, is a grave and willful dereliction of duty,” Trump wrote in a statement.

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