Vice President Kamala Harris speaks as US President Joe Biden looks on during a listening session with Georgia Asian American and Pacific Islander community leaders at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia on March 19, 2021.
Eric Baradat | AFP | Getty Images
President Joe Biden, whose administration is grappling with overcrowding at migrant facilities on the southern border, tasked Vice President Kamala Harris to lead efforts to coordinate with Mexico and the Northern Triangle nations, senior administration officials said Wednesday.
The assignment marks Harris’ first major policy role since being sworn in in January.
The vice president will work to stem the flow of people coming to the border, thousands of whom are unaccompanied children. Biden, among other reversals of Trump-era immigration policies, ended the prior administration’s practice of expelling unaccompanied minors.
But the recent increase in migrants has quickly overwhelmed border patrol stations and processing facilities, which are grappling with backlogs and overcrowding.
Harris this week called the situation at the border “a huge problem.”
Beyond the short-term challenges, Harris will work to strengthen diplomatic ties with Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala to address the root causes of the region’s migrant problems, senior administration officials said.
She also plans to coordinate with international organizations and private sector entities as part of her efforts, they said.
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