Joe Biden slammed for putting Kamala Harris in charge of border crisis: 'Worst possible choice'
GOP leader Josh Hawley called Harris, 'an advocate for decriminalizing illegal border crossing,' while Doug Ducey, Republican governor of Arizona, called her the 'worst possible choice that one could make'
President Joe Biden is facing intense backlash for putting Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of the border crisis. However, the larger question at hand is what political consequences Democrats could face due to Biden's controversial pick, especially considering Harris has previously raised eyebrows among the more moderate, working-class base of the Democratic Party with her ultra-liberal stance on immigration.
Biden announced on Wednesday, March 24, that Harris would be heading up his administration's approach to the crisis at the southern border with Mexico. "She's leading the effort," he said, adding, "I think the best thing to do is put someone who, when he or she speaks, they don't have to wonder about — is that where the president is? As she speaks, she speaks for me, doesn't have to check with me, she knows what she's doing — and I hope we can move this along."
Meanwhile, the White House also received flak for continuing to refuse media outlets access to the crowded border camps where children are being held amid the pandemic. Texas Senator Ted Cruz said the children at the CBP facility were "hungry, have only showered once in 7 days, were forced to sleep on the floor, and haven't seen sunlight in days." He added: "If the Biden admin was truly committed to being transparent about the crisis on the border, they would grant media access to the Donna facility."
Other critics of Harris were quick to voice their concerns over the pick as well. "I have been informed that vice president Kamala Harris has been put in charge of border security," said Doug Ducey, the Republican governor of Arizona, which shares 370 miles of border with Mexico. "She's about the worst possible choice that one could make. At no point in her career has she given any indication that she considers the border a problem or a serious threat."
Others pointed out Harris's past policies. "This is the person Joe Biden is putting in charge of the border - an advocate for decriminalizing illegal border crossing," said Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, referencing how Harris was among those in favor of decriminalizing border crossings during a Democratic primary debate in June 2019.
Harris denied it when Meghan McCain asked her about it on The View, but maintained that the law shouldn't be criminally enforced in such cases. "I would not make it a crime punishable by jail. It should be a civil enforcement issue but not a criminal enforcement issue," she said.
As a senator, Harris has previously sparked outrage by asking Ronald Vitiello, the former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director, whether he understood people who were comparing ICE to the KKK.
"Are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and the discretion at ICE are being used to enforce the laws and do you see any parallels [with the KKK]?" she had asked. "Are you aware that there is a perception that ICE is administering its power in a way that is causing fear and intimidation, particularly among immigrants and specifically among immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America?"
Several incoming migrants have been spotted wearing Biden T-shirts on their way to the US-Mexico border, signaling as a possible new vote bank for the Democrats. However, it is unclear how Black Democratic voters will react to the surge of migrants at the border combined with propaganda around immigrants 'stealing jobs'.