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Biden Says Harris Will Lead Response to Surge in Migrants

'When she speaks, she speaks for me'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2021 3:03 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Biden has tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the White House effort to tackle the migration challenge at southern border. Biden made the announcement as he and Harris met at the White House on Wednesday with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandra Mayorkas and other immigration advisers to discuss the increase in unaccompanied young migrants arriving at the border in recent weeks. In delegating the matter to Harris, Biden is seeking to replicate a dynamic that played out when he served as vice president, the AP reports. Barack Obama turned to Biden early in his first term to lead the White House effort to draw down US troops in the intractable war in Iraq.

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"When she speaks, she speaks for me," Biden said, noting her past work as California's attorney general makes her specially equipped to lead the administration's response. But the high-profile assignment for Harris, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and is expected to run for the White House again in the future, could be politically fraught. Biden admitted he was saddling her with a "tough job." "Needless to say, the work will not be easy," Harris said about her new assignment. "But it is important work." Biden made the announcement as a delegation of White House officials and members of Congress was traveling to tour a facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, being used to house migrant children. (On Monday, a Democratic lawmaker released photos of children at an overcrowded Border Patrol facility.)

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