EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — After weeks of criticism, Vice President Kamala Harris is making a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border with a visit to El Paso on Friday.
Many in the Borderland responded to the announcement with different reactions.
The immigration advocacy group Border Network for Human Rights Executive Director Fernando Garcia said he’s been waiting for Harris to visit the border since President Joe Biden tasked her with overseeing the administration’s immigration response in March.
“It’s about time,” Garcia said. “This visit is definitely welcomed.”
Garcia said he’d like to see Harris address Title 42 and the Department of Health and Human Services’ facility for unaccompanied migrant children at Fort Bliss.
“There’s a promise by this administration that they would change the narrative and policy in terms of policy and at the border so I hope they come and announce a fulfillment of that promise,” Garcia said.
He added he wants Harris to also speak with stakeholders and community members in El Paso.
“If she comes and only meets with, let’s say high-profile people like Border Patrol and the mayor, and doesn’t engage with the stakeholders and the communities, organizations like the BNHR, we have been doing this for 20 years, I think we have something to say,” Garcia said. “If she doesn’t do that, it would be a failure, in our opinion.”
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, said he also wanted to see Harris speak with people who live in border communities.
“I think it’s important to talk to Border Patrol and CBP, but also important to listen, and I hope that is what this visit is about is her coming and listening to others; they’re the ones that live on the border and see it first-hand,” Gonzales said.
The representative also said it was a long-awaited visit.
“By waiting months to go along it shows the lack of importance the administration has given to border communities or the border crisis in generaL,” Gonzales said.
Dora Oaxaca, chair of the El Paso County Democratic Party, said it was not a long-overdue visit as others have said.
“You have to remember the administration just took off this January so they are pretty much six months into office, so this is the perfect timing,” Oaxaca said.
She mentioned the visit was going to be coordinated with El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar’s office.
“I understand this visit is strictly business — this is not a political visit and her congressional team is taking the forefront with the working and organization in conjunction with Harris’ team,” Oaxaca said.