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Texas Democrat calls on Biden, Harris to visit border

Texas Democrat calls on Biden, Harris to visit border
© Greg Nash

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) on Thursday called on President Biden and Vice President Harris to visit the southern border amid a spike in border crossings and criticism over remarks Harris made about immigration during a trip to Guatemala.

Cuellar, who represents a border district, said on MSNBC that the two leader should come to the border but “not do a staged visit.”

“Come and sit down with people that I’ve met through all my life. Talk to the sheriffs, talk to the mayors, talk to the county judges, talk to the business leaders. They’re frustrated because what they’re seeing is, they’re seeing people just coming in in large numbers,” he said.

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“Landowners are concerned, local sheriffs are concerned, local police are concerned. Somebody needs to listen to our local communities. With all due respect, just coming in and doing a staged visit is not enough. They have to understand,” he said.

The comments come amid a spike in border crossings as the Biden administration works on a strategy to stem the flow of people coming into the U.S.

New data shows that authorities intercepted 180,034 migrants along the Mexico border in May, marking the busiest month at the border since Biden took office in January.

Harris looked to press migrants not to make the trip to the U.S. during her trip to Guatemala, and garnered criticism from progressives when she said, “Do not come. Do not come.” 

That criticism was compounded by Republican detractors who hit her over sidestepping a question over why she has yet to visit the southern border.

“I haven’t been to Europe. … I don’t understand the point that you’re making. I’m not discounting the importance of the border,” she said in an interview with NBC News.

Cuellar, a moderate, said Harris’s message to potential migrants about not coming to the U.S. was the right one but that it needs to be coupled with enforcement measures.

“I want to thank the vice president for having a clear message — don’t come,” he said. “But we need to couple that with some actions and some repercussions.”