Bon voyage, Madame Vice President.
Kamala Harris has no plans to return to the U.S.-Mexico border region anytime soon, she said Friday in New York City – but she will be jetting off to Europe next month.
Harris will travel to Paris in November to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, deliver a speech at the annual Paris Peace Forum and attend the Paris Conference on Libya, the White House said Friday, according to The Associated Press.
The announcement came the same day that Harris told reporters in the Bronx borough of New York City that she had no immediate plans to visit the southern border, despite U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials announcing that a record number of illegal immigrants had been detained there over the past year.
“I don’t have any [plans] at this moment, no,” Harris said about a possible trip to the border, according to the New York Post. The vice president last visited the border region in June, when she made a brief stop in El Paso, Texas, before flying on to her home in Los Angeles for the weekend.
“I don’t have any [plans] at this moment, no.”
Although she returned to Los Angeles the very next weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July – and has made several other trips to California as well, including a mysterious flight to Palm Springs earlier this month — she hasn’t been back to a U.S. border community since her Texas visit.
Earlier this month, Harris even skipped a Mexico City meeting on border issues, which other top Biden administration officials attended, opting instead to spend the day in New Jersey, where she visited a daycare center, a vaccination site and a bakery.
Back in March, Harris was named President Biden’s point person on the migrant crisis at the border but has received constant criticism from Republicans, who claim the vice president has been avoiding the border instead of trying to gain first-hand knowledge of the region by going there more frequently.
“And I haven’t been to Europe!” Harris responded to NBC’s Lester Holt in a TV interview in June, prior to her brief Texas visit, after Holt asked her if she planned to tour the border anytime soon.
When Harris finally arrived in El Paso on June 25, she had been Biden’s “border czar” for more than three months.
But it appears she will be traveling to Europe before making a second visit to the border. It will be her third international trip, following visits to Guatemala and Mexico in June, prior to the Texas trip, and a journey across the Pacific in August, visiting leaders in Singapore and Vietnam and making a jet refueling stop in Japan.
Along the U.S.-Mexico border, CBP personnel have detained 1.7 million illegal immigrants attempting to enter the U.S. during fiscal 2021, which ended Sept. 30, the Post reported. The figure was the highest ever recorded for a single year, the report said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.