Kamala Harris is forced to stand in the door – and risks her political future
Joe Biden shifts responsibility for the border chaos to his Vice President. The Republicans are already launching an attack on the White House.
“We’re building a wall!” Announced the White House in 2017. “We will work on implementing a strategy that includes the cause of migration,” says the Oval Office 2021. The contrast between Donald Trump’s populist immediate measures and Joe Biden’s cautious approach to the hot topic could hardly be greater.
The effect that the messages have on the volume of migration on the 3,145-kilometer-long border between the USA and Mexico is also fundamentally different. While the numbers fell under Trump – except for one outlier in April 2019 – they have shot up to unprecedented heights since the election of Joe Biden. Even Biden’s security minister recently announced that there were more illegal border crossings than ever before in the past 20 years. In February alone, the border guards picked up 11,000 children traveling alone and 16,000 families.
The tense situation on the southern border is becoming a political problem for Biden and his team. After the great success with the $ 1.9 trillion corona aid package and the vaccination campaign that has got off to a good start (the USA is currently in fourth place behind Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Chile), the reign of the oldest president in US history will follow now the cold shower.
Harris doesn’t want to become the new Obama
His political opponents accuse Biden of his reluctance to act like a magnet for the “migrant caravans”. His order to stop the construction of the border wall and overturn Trump’s “stay in Mexico” strategy, which forced refugees to wait for their asylum decision in Mexico, was what caused the “humanitarian crisis” at the border in the first place.
The criticism is underpinned by pictures from overcrowded reception camps, in which children lie on the floor behind plastic sheeting and await their fate. Biden has so far denied journalists access to the reception camps. According to a survey, only four in ten Americans are still happy with his migration policy.
In short: there is a crisis in America. And instead of traveling to the border himself and setting a sign of strength or compassion in US society, which is drooling after staging, Biden is now pulling his head out of the migration loop. This week, the 78-year-old unceremoniously appointed his Vice President Kamala Harris to be in charge of the “situation at the border”.
Harris finds herself in the midst of a political storm even before she moves into the official residence of the US Vice-President (which has been renovated since Mike Pence moved out in January). The former California prosecutor is well prepared for the task, say her supporters. The representative of the left wing of the Democrats had already lost all credibility in 2019 with her statement that illegal migrants are not criminals, her critics complain. Harris himself says in a nutshell that America is “in a challenging situation.”
Biden’s announcement takes away hope from Harris
The situation is particularly challenging for the 56-year-old herself. In the past, she was critical of the record-high deportation figures for the government of Barack Obama, who had around three million illegal migrants deported in eight years. Harris wants to avoid standing there as a migration hardliner so as not to scare off the rapidly growing proportion of Latin American voters. So this week she simply said:
Instead of clear words, Harris is first aiming to resume payments to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Obama tried to fight the causes of flight in the countries of origin of many migrants (corruption, violence, drug wars) with American billions – and was somewhat unsuccessful. Trump stopped the aid funds to the countries in the meantime and signed repatriation agreements with several Latin American states. Harris’ border policy deviates significantly from Trump’s hardline course and falls back on Obama’s approach.
The 56-year-old Vice President will hardly be able to celebrate quick successes with the “We fight the causes of flight” method. Especially not now, when spring, which is usually marked by a sharp rise in migration figures, is coming.
The Californian doesn’t necessarily need quick successes. Harris’ boss announced at his solo press conference on Thursday that he would run again in 2024 when he was 82 years old – with her as a runner-up. So Kamala Harris will have to wait a long time before she, as a possible US president, can push the hot political iron to her number two. (aargauerzeitung.ch)
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The inauguration of Joe Biden
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