Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas said Thursday that Vice President Kamala Harris’ mission to Central America to slow illegal migration had no impact.
“With all due respect, no,” Mr. Cuellar said on CNN when asked if the vice president’s June trip to Mexico and Guatemala had any impact on the root causes of migration. “We’ve got to work with the private sector to create jobs down there in Central America.”
With thousands of migrants from Haiti crossing into Del Rio, Texas, in recent days, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called on the vice president to take a more active role as the administration’s point person on migration issues.
“Where is the border czar, Vice President Harris?” the California Republican asked at his weekly press conference. “Tomorrow will mark the sixth month since she was appointed to this role. In that time, the situation at the border has only continued to deteriorate.”
Mr. McCarthy said more than 1.2 million migrants have been apprehended since Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris were inaugurated.
“Under her ‘control’ of the border – 970,000 with this border czar,” he said. “For the last two consecutive months, illegal migrant encounters hit more than 200,000. How does that play in history? It’s a 20-year high.”
He said the smuggling of fentanyl into the U.S. is also rising.
Mr. Cuellar, whose district includes a section of the border with Mexico, said there are another 30,000 Haitian refugees in Mexico, 30,000 in Colombia and 15,000 in Panama waiting to join the current mass illegal migration into Texas.
“This surge of Haitians is not going to stop anytime soon,” Mr. Cuellar said. “This is going to go on for a while.”
He said he has been telling Biden administration officials since the presidential transition in mid-December last year that migrants “are getting the impression that the borders are going to be open, and they feel that they have an opportunity to come into the United States.”
President Biden and Ms. Harris have struggled to deal with thousands of Haitian migrants at an encampment under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas. The administration has been criticized for mistreating the migrants and for expelling many of them back to Haiti which is wracked with political instability and natural disasters.
The U.S. special envoy for Haiti resigned Thursday in protest over Mr. Biden deporting thousands of the Haitian refugees, calling the deportations “inhumane” and “counterproductive.”