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Vice President Harris to visit U.S.-Mexico border this week

Harris was tasked by President Biden with addressing the systemic issues that have led migrants fleeing Central America to seek refuge in the U.S.
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WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris is planning to visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday, the White House said Wednesday.

Senior adviser and chief spokesperson Symone Sanders for Harris said that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will join her.

The trip comes several weeks after Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico where she met with leaders to discuss the root causes of immigration to the U.S. from Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Harris is expected to travel to the border city of El Paso, Tex. It’s unclear whether she will make additional stops. Politico first reported the trip.

After being tasked with addressing the root causes of immigration, Harris faced criticism from Republicans that she should visit the southern border and see conditions for herself. During Harris’ trip abroad earlier this month, she was asked repeatedly by journalists when she would make the trip.

Former President Donald Trump is set to visit the southern border next week with a group of House Republican lawmakers who have been critical of Harris.

Trump said in a statement Wednesday, "Harris and Biden were given the strongest Border in American history. And now, it is by far the worst in American history. If Governor Abbott and I weren’t going there next week, she would have never gone!"

White House press secretary Jen Psaki dismissed suggestions that the White House made a political calculation to send Harris to the border ahead of Trump's visit, telling reporters on Wednesday that the administration decided that it was an "appropriate time for her to go to the border."

"She has also said that when it was the right time, she would go to the border," Psaki said.

Mayorkas, senior domestic policy adviser Susan Rice and other administration officials visited border facilities and refugee shelters earlier this year.

“Listen, I care about what's happening on the border,” Harris told NBC Nightly News anchor Lestor Holt in an interview earlier this month in Guatemala. “I’m in Guatemala because my focus is dealing with the root causes of migration. There may be some who think that that is not important, but it is my firm belief that if we care about what's happening at the border, we better care about the root causes and address that.”

During her trip, she told people considering making the dangerous trek north to the U.S., “Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.”