Vice President Kamala Harris again addressed the migrant surge at the US’ southern border, this time citing a ‘lack of climate adaptation’ and ‘resilience’ as some root causes of the problem. Her critics weren’t convinced.
Speaking at the Washington Conference on the Americas on Tuesday, Harris acknowledged the recent surge at the US-Mexico border, saying people are leaving their homes at “an alarming rate.”
“We want to help people find hope at home. And so we are focused on addressing both the acute factors and the root causes of migration. And I believe this is an important distinction. We must focus on both,” she said.
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She added that “catastrophes” like “hurricanes, the drought, and the extreme food insecurity” are driving people to illegally cross the border. Then she turned to the “root causes” which she named as “corruption, violence, and poverty” as well as “the lack of economic opportunity, the lack of climate adaptation and climate resilience, the lack of good governance.”
Since being charged with heading the handling of the crisis at the border, Harris has faced criticism for her lack of physical trips and direct addresses on the matter. Conservatives were instantly skeptical of her effort to connect the current border crisis with climate change.
So, we could solve the border crisis by shipping some AC units to Honduras? https://t.co/b9N9wfgprZ
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) May 4, 2021
While climate change continues to be a partisan debate, experts have pointed to events such as recent hurricanes like Eta and Iota in Mexico as pushing people to make the trip north, though it’s far from the only reason. Many critics have pointed to the current administration’s more relaxed rhetoric and policies on immigration as also driving the surge.
“It couldn’t possibly be caused by the Biden admin stopping construction of the border wall or offering asylum to millions of illegal immigrants,” Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Alabama) tweeted in response to a video highlighting Harris’ climate comments.
Or, alternatively, it could just be your promise of amnesty. 🤷🏻♀️ https://t.co/pB1B2fkAIN
— Sara Gonzales (@SaraGonzalesTX) May 4, 2021
This is Bull — https://t.co/xEmv2FffFI
— Ava Armstrong, Author (@MsAvaArmstrong) May 4, 2021
US Customs and Border Patrol reported encountering more than 170,000 migrants in March, an increase of 71% from the previous month. There has also been a record surge in unaccompanied minors being caught crossing the border in recent months.
Biden officials have continually blasted Trump-era policies at the border, and some have said the restrictive administration even created a “pent up demand” for migrants.
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Biden administration adviser Roberta Jacobson admitted last month that the president’s “more humane policy” on illegal immigration may be driving more migrants to make the journey to the US.
“There was a hope for a more humane policy after four years of pent-up demand, so I don’t know if I would call that a coincidence,” she said at a White House briefing. “But the idea that a more humane policy would be in place may have driven people to make that decision.”
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