EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On Sunday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) tweeted that Vice President Kamala Harris “didn’t even go to the actual border” when visiting El Paso on Friday.
He said that Harris visited a Border Patrol station miles away from the Rio Grande and was simply in El Paso for a photo op. “Harris didn’t even got to the actual border. She visited a Border station about nine miles from the Rio Grande, talked to some immigration activists and legal service providers, posed for press photos back at the airport, and departed for Los Angeles before 1 p.m.,” Cornyn tweeted.
He included the tweet in a retweet of an article from the New York Post criticizing Harris’ visit to El Paso. The article quoted Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) as saying that El Paso doesn’t mirror the immigration crisis that is happening in the Rio Grande Valley. The article argued that the El Paso stop was “politically safe.” “Cueller suspects Harris’ team wanted a ‘politically safer’ trip — in a district with a friendlier congressman,” the article stated.
During her visit to El Paso, Harris did a walking tour of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection central processing center before participating in a roundtable discussion with advocates from faith-based non-governmental organizations, as well as shelter and legal service providers. Harris then made an unexpected stop at the Paso Del Norte Bridge, touring where asylum seekers are screened when coming from Mexico to the U.S., as well as a secondary migrant processing facility and the area of the bridge where vehicles cross and are inspected when crossing from Juarez.
The GOP criticism comes just ahead of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra’s visit to El Paso on Monday to be briefed on progress processing unaccompanied migrant children.
“Our job has been to find a place — a safe place, a healthy place — for several thousand of these unaccompanied minor children that have come across the border,” Becerra told KTSM 9 News. “And we’re doing that as best we can. So far, we’ve been able to help CBP avoid the thousands of kids that you were seeing a few months ago being detained in these adult detention facilities.”
HHS has been working alongside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to enhance methods of processing the children that both alleviates strain on CBP and serves as a more humane and efficient model.
“Our obligation at HHS is to make sure that we take any of the children that Customs and Border Protection has found at the border,” Becerra said.