Vice President Kamala Harris, the Biden administration’s “border czar,” sampled goods at a New Jersey bakery on Friday — while other White House officials met with their Mexican counterparts in a bid to get a handle on the ongoing illegal immigration crisis.
Harris was in the Garden State to promote President Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill and push COVID-19 vaccinations when she made the pit stop in Newark.
The president tapped Harris on March 24 to be the point person on the administration’s talks with Mexico and Central American countries about slowing the tide of illegal immigrants crossing the US border.
“When she speaks, she speaks for me,” Biden said at the time. “Doesn’t have to check with me. She knows what she’s doing, and I hope we can move this along.”
However, with the exception of a rocky visit to Mexico and Guatemala in early June and a brief trip to El Paso at the end of the same month, Harris has largely avoided the issue in public — leaving Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as the face of the administration’s immigration policies.
Mayorkas, and Attorney General Merrick Garland, were among the group of high-level US officials led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken who met with Mexican officials Friday.
Blinken met with that country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, before leading the rest of the delegation in a pow-wow with other Mexican officials, led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
Blinken, speaking at a news conference with Ebrard, called the discussions “productive” and explained that the group had focused on three main issues related to the US, Mexico and their shared border. Those issues were: The health and safety of each country’s citizens; combatting the trafficking of drugs, arms and humans; and collaborating on stopping money laundering and working together to investigate and prosecute organized criminal activity.
The secretary of state said he wanted the US and Mexico to work together at not only “modernizing law enforcement, but also strengthening public health, the rule of law and broad-based economic opportunity.”
The visit came as the Washington Examiner reported that US officials are tracking roughly 20,000 Haitian migrants who have gathered in Colombia and are believed to be preparing to dash for the border.
Even in New Jersey, Harris couldn’t escape the immigration issue entirely.
Approximately 30 illegal immigrants and students demonstrated outside the child care center Harris visited in Little Falls, where she pushed the massive social spending bill backed by the White House and left-wing Democrats, NJ.com reported.
The protesters called for the VP to support a path to citizenship in the proposed legislation. A pair of attempts by Senate Democrats to add such language have been rejected by the chamber’s parliamentarian.
“As an essential health care worker during the pandemic, I put my life at risk every day to help keep a health clinic open,” protest organizer Mariana Velasquez told the outlet. “But I fear being separated from my children. New Jersey is my home.”
After leaving the child care center, Harris toured a COVID-19 vaccination site at Essex County College before stopping at Tonnie’s Minis bake shop at the suggestion of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a former mayor of Newark.
According to NJ.com, Harris bought some red velvet cupcakes and slices of carrot cake, pineapple coconut cake, and sponge cake with chocolate icing. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy opted to go with four cupcakes, while noted vegan Booker opted not to indulge.
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