Kamala Harris Caught Flat-footed Again – Kamala Harris was supposed to be the point person on illegal immigration to solve the problems at the Southern Border when first taking office.
President Joe Biden tapped her to lead efforts to address the root causes of migration that emanated from Central America – where many have left for a brighter future in the United States.
That hasn’t exactly occurred.
Make It Happen, Kamala Harris
The vice president is from a border state – California – and looked poised to make a difference in the illegal immigration crisis.
She was tasked to work closely with countries such as El Salvador to improve economic opportunity and reduce crime – two factors that are believed to be the reasons that force citizens to flee their country and seek asylum in America.
What Are Her Priorities? Not Central America
Now Kamala Harris looks out of touch again as she refused to respond to good news from El Salvador. The Central American country is seeing a reduction in crime and a decline in migration outflows, its vice president said. Long known as a “murder capital” due to rampant gang violence, El Salvador appears to have successfully taken steps to address its reputation as one of the biggest criminal hotspots in the Western Hemisphere.
But where is Harris?
Shouldn’t she be taking credit for such promising developments in El Salvador after working closely with its political leaders as she was told to do?
Fox News had trouble getting in touch with the vice president and repeatedly tried to acquire a quote from her office, but there was no word from Harris or her press staff.
Political Leaders In El Salvador Implore Kamala Harris to Help
El Salvador’s Vice President Félix Ulloa said he tried to start a dialogue with Kamala Harris this year but has yet to hear from her.
He said his country reached out to the United States, sending a letter to the vice president “to request a dialogue over a potential $4 billion investment in the region to create jobs and help increase quality of life so that it might deter people from leaving the country.”
Ulloa is excited about his country’s progress in solving quality of life issues. El Salvador has suffered for years as it had a reputation for being unsafe due to gang violence. There was little chance for residents to enjoy economic opportunity and upward mobility.
But the country has addressed these problems seemingly without much help from the Biden administration despite promises of assistance and engagement from Harris at the beginning of Biden’s tenure.
U.S.-El Salvador Relations May Be Damaged
U.S. relations with El Salvador seemed to sour in 2021 when Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele snubbed American diplomat Ricardo Zuniga.
After that setback, President Bukele wanted to meet with Biden officials during a visit to Washington but was turned down.
While Bukele has claimed nothing in the American-Salvadoran relationship was harmed, it did fly in the face of U.S. strategy in Central America – that the United States was going to make the region a priority in its efforts to quell illegal immigration.
The U.S. Department of State refused to admit that anyone in the Biden administration, including Kamala Harris, has dropped the ball in relations with Central American states.
“The United States is also making lawful pathways for migration more accessible from within South and Central America,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement this spring. “In April, Secretary Blinken and Secretary Mayorkas announced sweeping new measures to address the irregular migration flows at the U.S. southwest border by expanding lawful pathways to the United States including for protection, certain parole programs, family reunification and labor pathways.”
That may be true, but the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the White House make no mention of Harris’ role in these efforts. This is another example of how Biden has struggled to improve Harris’ performance during his tenure. The vice president has been given numerous chances in many different policy areas to show her expertise, but her time spent working with Central American countries has been limited.
Now El Salvador is looking for a hand up and a more robust partnership from the vice president and they are not receiving it. It appears the country is on its own and this is not in tune with what Harris was initially assigned. She again appears out of touch and flat-footed as vice president – not a good look as the United States is struggling to fight illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling, and human trafficking at the border.
Author Expertise and Experience
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.