Vice President and border czar Kamala Harris won’t visit the border during her trip to Arizona Thursday.
The vice president will travel to Tonopah, Arizona, which is about 100 miles away from the southern border with Mexico. Harris was given the task of finding the root cause of mass migration and the crossing of hundreds of thousands of migrants, but has visited the border just once since she took office, in 2021.
Instead of stopping at the border, Harris is instead scheduled to attend the groundbreaking of a 125-mile-long transmission line that will transport wind and solar energy through the area. The vice president will be joined by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi to tout the Biden administration’s investment in clean energy.
Former Republican Arizona Mayor John Giles told Fox & Friends Thursday that he is pleased to see Harris promote the new energy plan in his state but believes she should also make time to raise more awareness about the surge of migrants and dangerous drugs to the southern border.
“It is a lost opportunity to visit the border and bring attention to the security issues we’re facing,” Giles said. “There is absolutely security issues at the border we would love for the vice president to bring more attention to and to bring more resources to.”
The vice president’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
President Biden visited the southern border for the first time in his presidency this month, when he traveled to El Paso, Texas. He announced a plan to use federal laws to turn away migrants at the border from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua as his administration expands the formal asylum seeking process for those migrants. This followed a trip to Arizona weeks prior where Biden did not visit the border, which defended by saying “there are more important things going on.”
The White House was unable to describe how Harris is working to counter mass migration when asked about the subject in December.
“I don’t have anything to lay out specifically on what that work looks like,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Harris has spent three days in Latin America on two separate trips in her role. The last public appearance Harris made on the topic of immigration was on June 15, according to a tracker of Harris’ scheduled events and meetings from the Los Angeles Times. Harris had 20 events on immigration as vice president, with all but three taking place in 2021.
Southern border encounters have hit more than 200,000 each month since June, according to Customs and Border Protection. These numbers are expected to increase after the pending expiration of the Title 42 policy that allows agents to turn away migrants in order to stop the spread of COVID.