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Democratic Rep. Cuellar urges Kamala Harris to visit border amid immigration crisis

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, invited Vice President Harris to his district to visit the U.S.-Mexico border and warned the “situation on the border will only worsen” in a letter this week.

“I encourage you to join me and other Members of Congress, while we visit with the people on the ground who deal with these issues every day,” Cuellar wrote. “I believe it is critical that you meet with local stakeholders and residents, consider their concerns, and use their lived experiences to implement more effective policies.”

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Cuellar represents Texas’ 28th Congressional District, which includes 300 miles of the U.S. southern border, he noted.

“The rapid rise in the number of migrants arriving at our Southern Border has placed severe burdens on our communities. As the U.S. emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, South Texans continue to struggle economically, due to outdated commercial travel restriction,” Cuellar wrote. “The situation on the border will only worsen, as more migrants are expected to arrive.”

Cuellar is not the only member of Congress to invite Harris to visit the border. 

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., invited Harris to visit the U.S.-Mexico border just miles from his district on the outskirts of San Diego.

“The conditions that she saw at the border when she was a senator … have deteriorated as a result of the policies of this administration, and she needs to see that firsthand,” Issa told Fox News in an exclusive interview last week. “Anyone who sees that will, in fact, make a decision that some of the polices implemented in the first 100 days of this administration need to be reversed. … Unless you want open borders.” 

In an interview with NBC News that aired earlier in June, Harris laughed off a question about why she hasn’t yet been to the border.

In this March 21, 2021 file photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent looks on near a gate on the U.S.-Mexico border wall as agents take migrants into custody, in Abram-Perezville, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

In this March 21, 2021 file photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent looks on near a gate on the U.S.-Mexico border wall as agents take migrants into custody, in Abram-Perezville, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

“And I haven’t been to Europe,” she said “I don’t understand the point that you’re making.”

Shortly after, she said she would visit the border, although she emphasized her belief that dealing with the root causes in Central America was a key aspect in solving the continuing border crisis – which has seen a spike in migration, including more than 178,000 migrant encounters and more than 13,000 unaccompanied children in April alone.

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Despite the controversy over the border visit, Harris declared her visits to Central America a success, claiming she had been “successful in making progress.”

She touted agreements in Guatemala that set up anti-corruption and anti-smuggling task forces as well as an initiative to promote education and employment opportunities for women and girls.

As for what had been achieved in Mexico, she highlighted a $130 million U.S. investment in Mexican workers’ protections and labor reform, as well as further partnering to address human trafficking and smuggling organizations and a strategic partnership to address root causes of migration in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

However, when asked whether Mexico had agreed take back more migrant families turned back from the U.S. due to Title 42 public health protections, Harris said, “We didn’t discuss Title 42.”

Harris also warned that the issue of the “root causes” would not be solved immediately in a single trip.

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“So this work is the work that must be done with a commitment to going deep and making a commitment over a period of time, knowing that nothing that we can do will address it overnight,” she said.

Fox News’ inquiry to Harris’ office was not returned at the time of publication.

Fox News’ Bill Melugin and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

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