Last Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris, together with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Texas Representative Veronica Escobar, visited the El Paso Border Patrol station and the El Paso del Norte Port of Entry. This marks their first visit to the border since the Biden Administration commenced. Inside the border facility, the Vice President met with several immigrant girls who reportedly came to the United States in order to “flee some type of harm.” They also met with local advocates, legal service providers, and representatives of non-governmental organizations that assist immigrants. Notably, Harris met with the Hope Border Institute and the Border Network for Human Rights.
The choice of El Paso was reportedly meant to underscore a shift to a more humane approach to immigration policy by Biden after the hardline stance of the former administration. Noteworthy is the fact that El Paso is the location where the previous administration’s child separation policy was unveiled and the “birthplace” of the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which essentially forced asylum seekers to wait on the other side of the border for their claims to be adjudicated. According to Symone Sanders, a Harris spokeswoman, since President Biden and Vice President Harris have taken office, they have been working “very diligently to address immigration at every single level, to establish legal pathways, restore an orderly, humane and fair system and means to apply for asylum.”
The Shulman Law Group, a law firm dedicated to providing high-level immigration counsel, applauds Harris for her visit to the border, for her commitment to improving current immigration policies, and to her pledge to developing a more humane system of processing intending immigrants. At the conclusion of Harris’ trip and in response to Republican critics, the Vice President stated that “Immigration cannot be reduced to a political issue. We’re talking about children, we’re talking about families, we’re talking about suffering. And our approach has to be thoughtful and effective.”