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New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell letter urges Kamala Harris to visit U.S.-Mexico border

Las Cruces Sun-News logo Las Cruces Sun-News 5/26/2021 Michael McDevitt, Las Cruces Sun-News
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LAS CRUCES - U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., is inviting Vice President Kamala Harris to visit New Mexico to see current immigration conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border. In a letter to the vice president May 24, the congresswoman also asked to accompany Harris on her upcoming trip to Mexico and Guatemala.

Herrell, whose congressional district includes nearly 180 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico, called the current border situation a “crisis” in her letter and urged Harris to take a trip to southern New Mexico to get an on-the-ground perspective from borderland residents who Herrell said “continue to fear violence and property damage along the border.”

Harris has not made a trip to the border since President Joe Biden picked her to oversee the task of stemming migration and working to address the conditions in Central America which cause it.

The first months of Biden's term have included a spike in migrant crossings at the southern border, including increases in the number of unaccompanied children crossing.

Herrell released the letter the same day she and a GOP congressional delegation visited the border in El Paso.

The Republican lawmaker also insisted she and other members of Congress from border communities be included on the vice president’s upcoming trip to Central America. Harris is traveling to Guatemala and Mexico on June 7 and 8 to address curbing the issues which lead people to flee to the United States, such as violence and political corruption, according to a White House official.

a person standing in front of a keyboard: U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., amid steel stockpiled by a contractor in Luna County after construction on segments of the U.S.-Mexico border wall was halted by the Biden Administration. Pictured Monday, April 12, 2021. © Algernon D'Ammassa/Sun-News U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., amid steel stockpiled by a contractor in Luna County after construction on segments of the U.S.-Mexico border wall was halted by the Biden Administration. Pictured Monday, April 12, 2021.

More: Migrant encounters up 71% in March as Biden administration grapples with border

“This crisis can only be solved with bipartisan input and perspective from those who represent areas along the southern border,” Herrell wrote.

The congresswoman also expressed skepticism that further U.S. investment in Central America will help alleviate the root causes of immigration. Instead, she suggested U.S. aid dollars could spur more migration.

Herrell has introduced legislation in the House to keep Title 42 of the U.S. Code — which has been used to rapidly expel undocumented migrants and many asylum seekers because of the COVID-19 pandemic — in effect until the pandemic is over. The Biden administration has so far kept Title 42 in place.

Herrell has also been critical of Biden’s border policies, such as his decision to halt construction of the border wall pushed by the Trump administration and his decision to end Migrant Protection Protocols — the so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy — for lawful asylum seekers.

Kamala Harris holding a sign: Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Unity Summit from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) © Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Unity Summit from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

She urged the administration to restart wall construction, maintain Title 42 enforcement and reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy in her letter.

"The most effective way to stop illegal immigration is to ensure consequences for those who break our laws or exploit our asylum system," Herrell wrote.

A spokesperson for Herrell said Tuesday her office had not yet received a response from the vice president.

A White House official did not say if the vice president would visit the border soon or if members of Congress would accompany her to Central America.

Michael McDevitt is a city and county government reporter for the Sun-News. He can be reached at 575-202-3205, mmcdevitt@lcsun-news.com or @MikeMcDTweets on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell letter urges Kamala Harris to visit U.S.-Mexico border

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