Vice President Kamala Harris said Sunday a mix of aid and diplomacy will make progress in stemming the migrant surge, but she lowered expectations for an immediate fix, saying the flight of people from Central America to the southern U.S. border is “not going to be solved overnight.”
President Biden put Ms. Harris in charge of dealing with the migrant surge, which has become an early and visible challenge for the administration. The White House has pointed to cyclical surges at the border, though some migrants have cited Mr. Biden’s own policy changes for coming.
Ms. Harris hasn’t visited the border, though she has traveled extensively around the U.S., sparking criticism. She said she plans to meet with Northern Triangle partners in person soon, as Cabinet-level diplomacy gets underway now.
“Yes, we’re working on a plan to get there, we’re working through COVID issues,” Ms. Harris told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I can’t get there soon enough.”
Ms. Harris framed the surge as a long-standing problem rooted in the migrants’ home countries. She said most people are fleeing some harm or they cannot stay and satisfy the basic necessities of life.
“That is a big part of what is going on,” the vice president said.
“Most people don’t want to leave home, They don’t want to leave their grandparents,” she said. “They don’t want to leave the place where they grew up.”
Ms. Harris insisted the administration is working on fixes, pointing to work through the Department of Agriculture to assist farmers in Northern Triangle countries and assistance through the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“We have to give people some sense of hope that if they stay that help is on the way,” she said.