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In the Wrong Place? Vice President Kamala Harris Defends Foreign Trip

Image source: CBN News
Image source: CBN News

In the midst of her first foreign trip, Vice President Kamala Harris is still taking heat for where she's not going - the US-Mexico border.

Harris met with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Tuesday after a visit to Guatemala on Monday. Her goal was to tackle the border surge and the many political problems that go with it.

But at home, Republicans like Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) say she's in the wrong place.

"The only problem is she's not visiting the border," he said. "She's not even in her home state of California which has a border with Mexico."

NBC News' Lester Holt pressed her on the issue in an exclusive interview for NBC Nightly News asking "do you have any plans to visit the border?"

"At some point, you know, we are going to the border," said Harris. "So this whole thing about the border. We've been to the border."

"You haven't been to the border," Holt pressed.

"And I haven't been to Europe," Harris responded. "I don't understand the point you're making."

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Last month, CBN News' Eric Philips asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about GOP criticism over the issue. She told Philips the administration is focused on solutions like treating immigrants humanely and reducing the number of children in Border Patrol facilities.  

"We're less worried about press conferences or political games that are being played by some," she said.

Dr. Andrew Selee, the president of the Migration Policy Institute, told CBN News that the lack of a border visit by the Vice President may make sense from a policy lens, noting that she's focused on the diplomatic side of migration rather than the border which is managed directly by the Department of Homeland Security.

Still, Selee says Harris may need to get more involved. 

"It is not possible to completely separate one from the other and I suspect that the Vice President will eventually have to engage more closely with border policy," he said.

In Mexico Tuesday, Harris told Obrador that the U.S. and Mexico are "embarking on a new era" during a historic in-person meeting.

The two discussed vaccine sharing, economic and security issues, and the root causes of migration.

Harris is also doubling down on her call to potential immigrants - to stay at home. 

On Monday in Guatemala, she said repeatedly "Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border."

Harris is facing pushback for those comments, even from her own party.

On Monday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she was disappointed noting "seeking asylum at any U.S. border is a 100 percent legal method of arrival."

Enormous pressure follows the Vice President on this trip, with border activity spiking this year and Republicans seizing on an issue that could translate into a political advantage. 

Case in point, Republican Javier Villalobos won Saturday's mayoral race in McAllen, Texas, a long-held bastion for Democrats.

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