A former senior Biden official said Vice President Kamala Harris’ work on immigration and the border was “at best ineffective,” and suggested she didn’t see it as her responsibility in a lengthy report on Team Biden infighting over the continuing crisis.
Axios reported on Monday that Harris and her aides made it clear early on that her responsibilities started and ended with working on root causes and factors driving immigration from countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, known as the Northern Triangle.
President Biden tasked Harris to take on the root causes of the border crisis.
“She’s been at best ineffective, and at worst sporadically engaged and not seeing it was her responsibility. It’s an opportunity for her, and she didn’t fill the breach,” a former Biden administration official told the media outlet.
Harris blamed Republicans for playing politics with regard to the crisis at the border during a recent interview with Katie Couric.
“Early on, I know you were tasked with understanding the root causes of the immigration crisis, but you’re not in charge of the border, which I think is important to point out,” Couric said.
Axios also highlighted turmoil within the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis. The Department of Homeland Security imposed a 100-day pause on deportations on Biden’s first day in office, and the outlet reported DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas opposed the pause at the time.
Harris also clashed with former Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, according to Axios, but both denied the reporting.
“Rice appeared to others to take pride in being more informed on the border than Harris,” Axios reported. “Some Harris aides found Rice to be disrespectful toward the vice president and dismissively referred to the former UN ambassador as just a ‘staffer.’”
Rice also called Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra a “bi— a–” over “what was seen as his reluctance to find more space in child migrant shelters,” according to the outlet.
Biden was also critical of his aides over the crisis in January 2023, when he paid a visit to the southern border. The report notes the president “lit into his team,” former Deputy Chief of Staff Jen O’Malley Dillon and Homeland Security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall, on Air Force One.
Biden’s aides reportedly expressed frustration over the president’s “irritability” on the crisis, which they believed made it difficult to make decisions.