I beg to differ. The fact that it took this White House three months – – and a threatened visit by Donald Trump to the border — to make such an easy and obvious move is the joke. Sending Kamala Harris to a relatively quiet part of the border for this box-checking exercise might be the first smart thing Joe Biden and his team have done.
House Democrat Henry Cuellar isn’t having any of it, however:
“I’m sure her planners told her that if you’re going to go down to the border, go to something that’s safer to go to, that is, politically safer,” Cuellar told Fox News in an interview Thursday morning. “The epicenter is down there in the Lower Rio Grande, the lower part of my district down there. If you look at the numbers that are down there compared to El Paso, you’re not going to get a true picture of what’s happening.”
The Border Patrol divides the 1,950-mile border into nine regions. Since the start of the government’s fiscal year in October 2020, the Rio Grande Valley has seen the most illegal immigration, nearly two and a half times as many migrant encounters as the El Paso region. From October through May, Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley apprehended 271,927 people, compared to 113,824 in El Paso, according to federal data.
Cuellar went on Fox News this morning after getting ignored by the White House … again. Cuellar claims that he has tried to get Harris to join him for a border tour for months, including an invitation he sent a week ago. Not only did Harris and the White House ignore it, they didn’t even give Cuellar a courtesy notification of Harris’ upcoming trip. They stiffed the entire Texas Democrat delegation, Cuellar told Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino:
The congressman has invited Harris to the border several times, including in an invitation sent to her office last week. He never heard back and learned of her plan to visit El Paso through news reports, as did other Texas Democrats, he said.
“Yesterday, I got a call from one of my Border Patrol friends and say, ‘Hey, why is she going over there? We got about 140% higher crossings over here, and this is where the activity’s at.’ And I couldn’t answer him,” Cuellar said. “Even if she goes to El Paso, which is a first step, she’s got to spend time with landowners, with stakeholders, with cities and counties officials, and I hope she sits down with our brave men and women in green, and in blue, our Border Patrol agents, so they don’t just get a pat in the back, but they actually get some reinforcement and some support down there.”
D’oh! This is yet another example of the amateurish bungling that has surrounded Biden, Harris, and his administration on the border issues, both substantive and in public relations. It’s hard to fathom why no one would think to let their nominal allies in Texas know about the trip before announcing it to the press … other than they didn’t plan this out at all and merely reacted to heavy criticism over Harris’ absence from the border.
Anyway, the purpose of this site selection is obvious. They want to provide the media with some soft photo ops around the quiet facilities in order to spin the notion that everything’s under control. This (finally) robs critics of the question about why Harris and/or Biden hasn’t gone to the border, and with it the remaining media interest in the Biden-generated humanitarian disaster in other areas of the frontier.
Or at least they hope the media will lose interest in it. I wouldn’t bet against them on this point, no matter how hard Cuellar keeps pushing to get more visibility on this crisis.