GOP Whip Steve Scalise created a milk carton with a ‘Missing at the border’ notice along with Vice President Kamala Harris’ face
Republicans took aim at Vice President Kamala Harris with a mock missing persons milk carton notice during a briefing Wednesday where they lamented she has yet to visit the southern border.
During a GOP press conference, Republican Whip Steve Scalise brought along the milk carton prop that read ‘Missing at the border’ with an image of Harris’ White House portrait.
‘It’s a national disgrace,’ Scalise said during the briefing Wednesday. ‘President Biden puts Kamala Harris in charge of it and she refuses to go down, maybe because she doesn’t want to be associated with this disgraceful policy.’
‘But if she’s the Vice President of the United States and the president put her in charge of this, Vice President Harris needs to go down to the border and see this for herself,’ the Louisiana representative continued. ‘Because maybe she would then encourage President Biden to reverse his policies, which have failed.’
Harris revealed Wednesday that she will visit Guatemala and Mexico but won’t go to the southern border to address the mass migration and overflowing border facility crisis there. Specifically the federal government now as 21,000 unaccompanied minors in its custody.
The vice president defended the move by telling the press before a zoom meeting with outside experts 21 days after being named border ‘czar’ – that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is in charge of the border crisis.
‘The President has asked Secretary Mayorkas to address what is going on at the border,’ she clarified to the press before kicking off the closed-door meeting. ‘I have been asked to address the root causes.’
Scalise told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that Harris deciding to forego a border trip is ‘despicable.’
At a briefing Wednesday April 14 he hammered Harris and President Joe Biden for not yet visiting the southern border. He told DailyMail.com that it’s a ‘despicable’ that she won’t visit
Scalise trolled Harris by bringing the milk carton with her face on it to the briefing Wednesday
Harris held a virtual meeting Wednesday with outside experts on assessing the issues in the Northern Triangle leading to mass migrations. This was the first event she held related to the crisis in her 21 days as border czar
‘President Biden and Vice President Harris are directly responsible for this humanitarian, health, and national security crisis they’ve created at the border and the horrific conditions these children face in the detention facilities their administration runs and won’t even bother to go see them, or the thousands of border patrol agents who risk their lives dealing with the consequences, in person,’ Scalise wrote in a statement.
‘Shame on them,’ he added.
Scalise, who led a group of GOP lawmakers to the border last week, slammed the Biden administration for creating the border crisis by undoing several Trump-era policies related to immigration on Day One.
‘He needs to go see for himself the damage that he’s doing and stop this madness,’ Scalise said during a GOP briefing.
At the briefing, Scalise brought along a milk carton prop with Vice President Harris’ face on it and the words: ‘Missing at the border’.
In the three weeks since Kamala Harris was named ‘border czar’, she hasn’t visited or held a press conference
Before the meeting Harris said she would visit Guatemala and Mexico soon, but not the border. ‘The President has asked Secretary Mayorkas to address what is going on at the border,’ she said. ‘I have been asked to address the root causes’
Thousands of migrants continue to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. Here Romanian immigrants were taken into Border Patrol custody at the La Joya, Texas border after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico on April 13
Biden put Harris in charge of the crisis last month and she finally took on her role Wednesday by speaking virtually with outside experts on assessing the situations in Northern Triangle countries leading to migrants fleeing to the southern border.
New data obtained by The Washington Times shows Immigration and Customs enforcement had a 75% drop in arrests in the first seven weeks of Biden’s administration compared to the same period in 2020.
The significant drop comes as illegal crossings soar and many agents are tasked with taking care of the more than 21,000 unaccompanied minors in U.S. custody rather than patrolling the border. Some lawmakers who have visited Texas and its holding facilities have detailed seeing agents on diaper duty in the middle of the night instead of patrolling the border.
Non-priority arrests have dropped more than 80% from 17,810 last year to 3,306.
Ahead of the meeting, the vice president’s office said they would cover ‘root causes of migration, humanitarian assistance, economic development, climate resilience, transparency, and good governance.’
The office emphasized Harris held the meeting ‘in her role overseeing diplomacy towards Mexico and Northern Triangle nations.’
Biden announced last month that Harris would lead the White House response to the immigration crisis.
Since taking on that position, the White House has swiftly walked back on the capacity of her role – including pushing her focus on ‘root causes’ in Central America rather than addressing the massive border crisis the U.S. is facing.
Critics have slammed the vice president for not doing much in the 21 days since she was named border czar.
Harris has not visited the border or Central American countries. She did hold at least one call with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei.
The virtual event Wednesday is the first time Harris has done any public work related to the immigration crisis.
CBP agents register immigrants before bussing them to processing centers near the La Joya, Texas border with Mexico on April 13
More than 21,000 unaccompanied migrant children are in federal government custody. Republicans who visited these centers last week shared images during a press conference Wednesday, April 14 of the massively overcrowded facilities
While Harris will hear from outside national security experts on immigration and the Northern Triangle, no immigration or border officials are joining the conversation to give their perspective on the issue.
The Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Dan Restrepo, who served as a principal advisor to Barack Obama, joined the virtual meeting.
Other participants include Senior Policy Advisor for Central America at Oxfam Vicki Gass; President of the Migration Policy Institute Andrew Selee; Co-director of the Latin America Working Group Lisa Haugaard; President at the Washington Office on Latin America Geoff Thale; Natural Resources Defense Council Manager of Green Finance and Climate Change Carolina Herrera; and Director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center Jason Marcza.
In another sign or advancement in addressing the crisis, the White House announced Monday it struck a deal with Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras to send more of their troops to secure borders and stop migrants before arriving illegally in the U.S.
‘The objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey, and make crossing the borders more more difficult,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing Monday. ‘We worked with them to increase law enforcement at the border to deter the travel, which is a treacherous journey.’
‘Guatemala surged 1,500 police and military personnel to its southern border with Honduras and agreed to set up 12 checkpoints along the migratory routes,’ she added.
The Guatemalan government, however, says this claim is not true.
It released a statement Tuesday saying there is no ‘signed document’ between Guatemala and the U.S. relating to border security.
The statement continues that Guatemala did send 1,500 troops to its border in January to address migrant caravans – and claims the influx is unrelated to any new deal.
‘President Alejandro Guimmattei has committed, since the beginning of his term in January 2020, to strengthen border security as a strategy to battle transnational threats like drug trafficking, human trafficking, and as a preventive measure in the face of the pandemic,’ the statement reads.
A Texas nonprofit, Family Endeavors, was awarded a $530 million no-bid contract from the government in further effort to mitigate the massive influx of migrant children arriving at the southern border.
Texas non-profit Family Endeavors was awarded a $530 million grant to curb the child migrant crisis after it hired Biden transition official Andrew Lorenzen-Strait
This is the largest-ever contract the Texas-based non-profit has received, and it was awarded a few months after Family Endeavors hired Biden transition official Andrew Lorenzen-Strait, Axios reported.
The nonprofit is aimed at helping vulnerable communities through crises. The group announced its hiring of Lorenzen-Strait on January 20 – the same day as Biden’s inauguration – and he took on the role of senior director for migrant services and federal affairs.
Lorenzen-Strait is a former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official. He also advised the Biden-Harris transition team on Homeland Security policy and staffing.
President Joe Biden’s administration is scrambling to address the growing immigration crisis as recent numbers show more than 21,000 unaccompanied minors are in federal government custody.
Family Endeavors is part of that effort. The faith-based organization was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.
Last month, Biden appointed Vice President Kamala Harris as border czar, but she has since held no events related to the crisis or even taken the time to visit the border or Northern Triangle countries.
On Wednesday morning, Harris is expected to hold a virtual roundtable in her new role.
Recent data shows there are currently more than 21,000 unaccompanied migrant children in federal government custody
An unaccompanied minor (right) hugs a fellow teen in La Joya, Texas on Tuesday. The two met during their journey from El Salvador to the U.S. southern border
More migrants arrive daily. Here a 26-year-old father walks with his 5-year-old daughter after crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico into Roma, Texas on April 13 and seeking asylum
Border Patrol agents search illegal immigrants in La Joya, Texas before transporting them to a processing center on April 13
She will speak with experts on their assessments of the Northern Triangle region, which includes El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The vast majority of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border are from these countries.
Notably, the vice president is not meeting with any border or immigration agents or officials on the matter, just a panel of ‘experts.’
Former Homeland Security officials who served under Trump say they are relieved Harris has taken a hands off approach at the border.
‘I’m glad she’s nowhere near the border,’ Trump-era acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) commissioner Mark Morgan told DailyMail.com during a panel discussion with the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday.
‘Quite frankly,’ he continued, ‘I think if she does do what she should do as the anointed border czar, she’s just going to make the crisis even worse.’
Along with Morgan, former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli and former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf joined the discussion with the conservative think tank where all three are visiting fellows.
Vice President Harris has received a slew of criticism for not yet visiting the southern border despite being put in charge of the crisis 21 days ago. President Biden has also not gone to the U.S.-Mexico border as he nears his third month in office.
Morgan pointed to Harris’ lax immigration policies as a reason why it’s better she remain as uninvolved as possible. He noted she helped make California a so-called ‘sanctuary state’ when she was attorney general by refusing to work with federal authorities to turn over illegal immigrants in the state.
‘This is a former Senator Harris who during a congressional testimony referred to ICE as the KKK, she basically called ICE agents racists,’ Morgan bashed the vice president. ‘She’s gone further to say that ICE should be dismantled and start from scratch.’
The Heritage Foundation hosted a panel with with former Trump’s Homeland Security officials on Tuesday. Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf (upper right), Former acting DHS deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli (bottom left) and former Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan (bottom right)
Morgan said of Vice President Kamala Harris not yet visiting the border: ‘I’m glad she’s nowhere near the border…. Quite frankly, I think if she does do what she should do as the anointed border czar, she’s just going to make the crisis even worse’
Thousands of migrants are arriving at the border as the Biden administration sees a record- breaking number of illegal arrivals. Here a Guatemalan family waits on the ground in La Joya, Texas with other immigrants to board a bus for a processing center on April 13
Cuccinelli told DailyMail.com during the panel talk that no one in the administration wants to take ownership of the massive failure at the southern border.
‘This is a political hot potato within the administration,’ Cuccinelli said.
‘None of them want it,’ he added. ‘That’s why the president tossed it to the vice president, that’s why he hasn’t visited the border even though he has caused the problem. That’s why she won’t touch it, she won’t talk about it, she won’t go to the border, she won’t go anywhere near it.
Cuccinelli said those in the White House are ‘all more afraid of the radical left base than they are committed to solving the problem.’
‘By a longshot – it’s not even close,’ he insisted.
Biden has taken on a much more lax immigration approach than his predecessor – evident by a slew of Trump-critic DHS nominees the president announced Monday.
These policies, however, have quickly led to a humanitarian crisis as a record number of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador arrive at the border every day – this includes nearly 20,000 unaccompanied minors in U.S. custody.
‘We told you so,’ Morgan said.
Wolf added that although Harris was put in charge of the border, the White House’s messaging as been all wrong, leading to concussion among the public and DHS and border officials and agents.
‘The administration needs to clear up who’s in charge,’ Wolf insisted. ‘Is it the DHS secretary, is it the White House, is it the vice president? Because I can tell you that the men and women in the field are also confused.’
‘I can’t tell you how many people that I’ve talked to at the department that has no idea who’s in charge,’ he said. ‘Who should they be listening to, who should they be taking direction from? They don’t know – and if they don’t know that is a problem.’
Biden announced he is nominating anti-Trump Tucson, Arizona police chief Chris Magnus to lead Customs and Border Protection. Magnus pictured here in December 2014 holding a ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign at a BLM protest
Biden announced Monday a series of new nominees who will lead the border and immigration effort. This includes tapping Tucson, Arizona police chief Chris Magnus to lead the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP).
Magnus has been vocal in his criticism of Trump and how he and one-time Attorney General Jeff Sessions handled immigration.
‘The harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric and Mr. Sessions’s reckless policies ignore a basic reality known by most good cops and prosecutors,’ Magnus wrote in a 2017 op/ed. ‘If people are afraid of the police, if they fear they may become separated from their families or harshly interrogated based on their immigration status, they won’t report crimes or come forward as witnesses.’
Another appointee includes fellow anti-Trumper Ur Jaddou to head up the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
President Joe Biden released a sudden tweet on Monday defending Harris amid mounting criticism over her failure to visit the border and after GOP Senator John Cornyn questioned who was in charge in the White House.
‘When I served as Vice President, I asked to be the last person with the President before big decisions were made — and @VP is providing the same counsel to me,’ Biden wrote. ‘She’s the last voice in the room and never fails to speak the truth as we work to build our nation back better.’
He included a picture of the pair in discussion inside the Oval Office.
President Joe Biden tweeted Monday about his vice president, Kamala Harris, saying she ‘never fails to speak the truth’ and provides counsel to him. Biden’s tweet came without explanation after Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asked whether he was ‘really in charge’