Harris traveled to New Hampshire for the first time this week since 2019, when she was running for president as a California senator. Her return there was an effort to boost support for Democratic New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan, who is facing reelection in 2022.
Cruz commented in a Tweet Friday that Harris’ “GPS got confused” when she visited the Granite State, echoing criticism from state Republicans on the vice president’s visit.
The state’s GOP called her out for coming to the “#wrongborder,” implying that Harris’ time should be spent on the opposite end of the country—where she has reportedly yet to pay a visit 30 days—after President Joe Biden tasked her with tackling diplomatic efforts with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to stymy the current flow of migrants and develop long-term strategies targeted at the root causes of migration.
“As you travel over 2,300 miles away from El Paso, our country would be better served with an official visit to our southern border, not a campaign trip for@Maggie_Hassan,” the New Hampshire GOP said in a Twitter response to Harris’ visit.
In a statement to Fox News, New Hampshire GOP Chairman Stephen Stepanek said: “Vice President Kamala Harris would serve our nation better by tackling the crisis at our southern border instead of campaigning with Maggie Hassan near our northern border. Harris last visited our Granite State in 2019, telling supporters that she was committed to fixing the ‘inhumane’ activities towards our country’s southern border.”
Stepanek added: “Now Harris returns almost two years later, but how will she answer to these same individuals, while blatantly ignoring the crisis she’s been specifically charged to handle? Granite Staters don’t want another photo-op, they want strong leadership and accountability.”
This isn’t the first time that Cruz and other Republicans have mocked Harris for her missing presence at the border. The GOP senator visited the border himself earlier this year, where he blamed the Biden administration for the conditions at border and said in an subsequent interview with Fox News that “Joe Biden has built more cages, the cages are bigger, and they’re more full.”
Cruz is correct that the Biden administration has opened up additional migrant shelters to house thousands of minors under the care of the Department of Health and Human services. But the White House maintains that building up these facilities is a temporary solution to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and buy time to implement new immigration systems.
Harris told reporters on April 14 that her purvey is the root causes behind migration, whereas Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is President Joe Biden‘s designated appointee for addressing how the administration will process thousands of unaccompanied minors, families and adults taken into border patrol custody.
Since Biden’s anointment of her role, Harris has consulted experts on the region to determine to combat power structures inhibiting functioning societies in these countries that ultimately force migrants to risk the dangerous trek to the U.S.—only to be turned away over overwhelmed border authorities.
In a roundtable on the Northern Triangle, the countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, on Thursday, Harris’ emphasized her strategy to alleviate the border will be diplomatic action on issues relating to poverty, corruption, climate change and economy, rather than the ongoing situation at the border itself.
“And we are looking at, therefore, a number of issues that also relate to poverty, extreme poverty. And also there’s violence obviously coming out of those regions,” she said. “When you look at the root causes, we’re also looking at issues of corruption. Again, we’re looking at the issue of climate resiliency and then the concern about a lack of economic opportunity,” Harris said on Thursday.
She is set to meet with the president of Guatemala on Monday.
A White House official confirmed to The Hill this week that Harris is scheduled to make her first visit to the Northern Triangle in June.
Newsweek has reached out to the White House and Stepanek for additional comment.