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Kamala Harris heading to the border Friday for first time as vice president

Harris defends not visiting southern border
Kamala Harris defends not visiting southern border 02:04

Washington — Vice President Kamala Harris is going to the U.S.-Mexico border with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday for her first trip to the border since being tapped to stem the flow of migration from Central America, the White House said Wednesday.

President Biden has tasked Harris with addressing the root causes of increased migration at the southern border, but Republicans have criticized Harris for failing to go to the border until now. Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month, and when she was asked why she wasn't visiting the border during a television interview, she compared not visiting the border to not visiting Europe.

Harris will travel to El Paso, Texas, senior adviser Symone Sanders said in a statement. Politico first reported the upcoming trip.

When she was in Guatemala earlier this month on her first trip abroad since taking office, Harris discouraged would-be migrants from making the trek to the United States. 

"I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border," Harris said during a press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei. "Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border."

Conservatives have relentlessly attacked Harris for not visiting the border. Earlier this month when pressed about why she hadn't visited yet, she said, "I haven't been to Europe either." 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday there was always a possibility that Harris would visit the border. 

"I will note that I've also said here from this podium and she has also said, that when it was the right time, she may go to visit the border," Psaki said. 

Harris' trip will be just days before former President Donald Trump visits the border with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and a group of House Republicans.

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