PRESIDENT Joe Biden handed the migrant crisis at the southern border over to Vice President Kamala Harris.
Harris will be the lead point person on the subject and representative to Mexico and Central American countries.
Does Kamala Harris speak Spanish?
Despite being born in California – a melting pot of different cultures, especially Latinos – Vice President Harris speaks very little Spanish.
She’s the child of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father.
During her run at the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Harris’ Spanish skills were tested by Telemundo and Univision, the dominate Spanish-language news outlets in the US.
During an interview with Univision in 2019, the outlet tested Harris’ Spanish skills with the tongue twisting phrase “tres tristes tigres” (three sad tigers).
The then-Democratic candidate failed to say the phrase three times, but managed to pronounce the phrase at one point.
The Spanish-outlet also asked Harris if she knew a word a Spanish, which she responded “pendejo” or stupid.
That same year, Telemundo conducted an interview with Harris in English, despite it being a Spanish-language television network.
When asked how her Spanish was, Harris said, “It could be much better, but I’m working on it.”
What did Joe Biden say about Harris and the border crisis?
On March 24, President Biden handed over the record migrant crisis to Harris just days after she laughed when she was asked if she would visit the border.
The president said that he “can think of nobody better qualified” than his running mate.
Biden added that when Harris is in control of the issue, American leaders “don’t have to wonder if that’s where the president is,” adding that the VP “speaks for me.”
The role means that Harris will serve as the lead person to tackle the issue, and will represent Mexico and Central American countries.
The move comes after a 64 percent nationwide increase in the number of migrant children coming into the US, with 30,077 border apprehensions coming in February 2021 alone.
Customs and Border Protection arrested more than 100,000 migrants at the border in February – a huge increase from numbers under Donald Trump’s administration.
Shocking images made headlines revealing the “terrible” conditions inside a border patrol tent in Texas, as nearly 1,000 unaccompanied children have been held by agents for more than 10 days.
The images show groups of migrants laying on mats on the floor, using aluminum sheet blankets to keep warm.
The makeshift facility is made up of eight “pods” and each is meant to have a maximum occupancy of 260 people.
Recently, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador blamed Biden for the border crisis, the Washington Post reported.
“Expectations were created that with the government of President Biden there would be a better treatment of migrants,” Obrador said.
“And this has caused Central American migrants, and also from our country, wanting to cross the border thinking that it is easier to do so.”
“They see [Biden] as the migrant president, and so many feel they’re going to reach the United States.”
Did Kamala Harris laugh when asked if she’s going to visit the border?
On March 22, Harris laughed when she was asked if she has plans to visit the border as pictures show groups of migrant children living in overcrowded pens.
“Not today,” Harris responded to the question before bursting out into laughter outside of Air Force One.
“But I have before, and I’m sure I will again.”
The former California senator offered the response during a visit to Jacksonville, Florida, to promote the passage of the $1.9trillion coronavirus relief package, known as the America Rescue Plan.
Video of the exchange quickly spread to social media, eliciting the ire of Republicans who blasted Harris for not treating the border situation with the seriousness it deserves.
“While VP Harris laughs off a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions, Republicans are focused on securing the border and responding to the needs of our Border Patrol agents on the front lines,” House Minority Leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy wrote on Twitter.
Similarly, Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko added: “First, the Biden Administration refused to admit the situation at the border is a crisis, NOW Kamala Harris thinks this is a laughing matter.
“It isn’t a laughing matter for the border communities being deluged by illegal immigrants.”
Having previously stated he had no plans to visit the crossing, President Biden, meanwhile, said on March 21 that he will make the trip “at some point” when pressed on the matter.
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