Kamala Harris snapped at a reporter during a television interview when she was asked when she plans to visit the US-Mexico border – as America’s migrant crisis spirals out of control.
The vice president, who has been tagged as the ‘border czar’ by Joe Biden, lost her cool live on Univision on Thursday while chatting to journalist Ilia Calderon, an anchor with the Miami-based network.
Harris has been widely criticized for having not visited America’s southern border since being placed in charge of getting the worsening crisis under control by Joe Biden. The number of migrants crossing into the US from countries like Mexico and Guatemala hit 180,000 in May, the highest monthly total for around 21 years.
During questioning by Calderon on the crisis, Harris said: ‘I’ve said I’m going to the border’, appearing to be visibly irritated.
She added: ‘And I – ‘, before Calderon, speaking via video link, interrupted and asked ‘when are you going?’
Harris continued saying: ‘The administration has asked…’
She paused, hearing Calderon’s question on delay, and replied: ‘I’ve not finished.
‘I’ve said I’m going to the border. And also, if we are going to deal with the problems at the border, we have to deal with the problems that cause people to go to the border – to flee to the border.
‘And that is the root causes.
‘So my first trip, as vice president of the United States, was to go – in terms of a foreign trip – to Guatemala.
‘To be on the ground there. To address, and to be informed of, the root causes – why are the people of Guatemala leaving.’
Calderon asked: ‘Do you have a date for your trip to the border, to see the situation with your own eyes?’
Harris replied: ‘I will keep you posted.’
The fractious confrontation came after Harris had a similarly frosty encounter with NBC anchor Lester Holt, during her recent trip to Guatemala where she met diplomats to discuss border issues.
‘At some point, you know, we are going to the border,’ she told Holt.
Harris added: ‘We’ve been to the border. So this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.’
He replied: ‘You haven’t been to the border.’
‘And I haven’t been to Europe,’ Harris snapped, then quickly turned laughed.
‘And I mean, I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border.’
On March 24, President Joe Biden announced that he was putting Harris in charge of ‘stemming the movement of so many folks, stemming the migration to our southern border.’
Since then Harris has insisted that her focus is on the root causes of migration, rather than dealing with the crisis at the border. She has pledged to work with officials in the likes of Guatemala and Mexico to help them stop migrants from fleeing to the US in the first place.
Border crossings have exploded 674% in May 2021 compared to May 2020.
Authorities recorded 180,034 migrants crossing into the US last month.
That represented a slight increase over the approximately 178,000 migrants encountered in April, and the 172,000 encountered in March.
In February, roughly 100,000 migrants illegally crossed the US-Mexico border into the United States.
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