Vice President Kamala Harris accused Texas Governor Greg Abbott of ‘flame throwing’ on Sunday after the Republican official directed state law enforcement officers to round up migrants and send them to federal border crossings.
Abbott signed an executive order on Thursday allowing the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety to arrest undocumented migrants and return them to the border.
In an interview with CBS News’ Face The Nation, Harris was asked what the Biden administration planned to do about Abbott’s plan and his laying blame on the White House for the record surge in asylum seekers at the southwest border – which Abbott labeled an ‘invasion’ .’
“I would suggest that so-called leaders focus on solutions instead of attacks if they really are concerned about a problem, and that includes the issue of immigration,” Harris replied.
In a direct jab at Donald Trump, she said the previous presidential administration created ‘a badly broken’ immigration system.
Meanwhile, Harris herself has done little in recent months that comes under her purview of the Biden administration’s ‘border czar.’
The vice president maintained that solutions to the immigration crisis would include ‘passing a pathway for citizenship,’ a long-held goal for Democrats
‘So that we can have a humane and appropriate approach to this issue, including of course, what we will continue to do in terms of prioritizing border security, but understanding we also need to create a pathway,’ Harris said on Sunday.
Vice President Kamala Harris was only asked about the border once during the wide-ranging interview despite mounting calls for the administration to do more to help state and local governments deal with asylum-seekers
‘And that’s where I think everyone should be focused if they’re actually concerned about solutions, instead of flame throwing.’
Abbott’s order comes against the backdrop of a new record surge in asylum-seekers at the southern border, and days after the Supreme Court ruled President Biden could get rid of the controversial Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols, nicknamed the ‘Remain In Mexico’ policy .
The rule, which forced migrants coming from other parts of Central or South America to wait for their asylum claims to be processed in Mexico, caused a humanitarian outcry over the squalid, crime-ridden conditions in some migrant camps.
And Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) recorded 239,416 migrant encounters in May.
Harris did not make a public statement on the surge when the data was released last month.
Accountability for the rise in migrants straining local and state governments – in addition to the federal immigration pipeline – has largely fallen on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as well as Biden himself.
While that’s to be expected with Mayorkas’ department overseeing CBP and border operations, Harris’ absence in leading the response on the border is noticeable considering Biden tapped her to lead the national response to the southwestern border crisis in March last year.
She was asked to respond to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent executive order calling on the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to arrest undocumented migrants and return them to the border.
A migration activist climbs a ladder to place wooden crosses on the border fence in Playas de Tijuana, during a vigil to honor the migrants who died in a truck in San Antonio, Texas, in Tijuana, Mexico July 4
Harris has also been criticized by Republicans for directing her focus on the ‘root causes’ of stopping undocumented immigration from Central and South America, rather than more immediate solutions to ease the burden on US infrastructure at the border.
Through her role, however, she has made some strides – Harris has reportedly secured $1.2 billion in private investments aimed at strengthening and improving local regions where the majority of migrants are fleeing from.
But during her inaugural speech at Biden’s Summit of the Americas, Harris did not once mention mass migration across the continents.
Earlier this year, GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson introduced a bill that would force Harris to visit the border every 60 days.
The vice president led a delegation in January to the inauguration of Honduras’ first female president, Xiomara Castro.
However, she has not visited the US southwestern border beyond one trip in June of 2021.
And Harris also apparently resented being given the ‘border czar’ title in the first place, according to the recent book ‘This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future.’
The vice president “did not hesitate to criticize Biden for characterizing her assignment in those terms,” the book states.