In an NBC "Meet the Press" segment filmed in Texas, which aired on September 11, Vice President Kamala Harris discussed border security with host Chuck Todd. Citing the record-breaking number of illegal aliens who have stolen across the southern border into the U.S. over the past year, Todd asked Harris, "Would you call the border secure?"
Harris first responded by suggesting what needs to be done is "pass a bill to create a pathway to citizenship." She then answered Todd's question with a caveat: "The border is secure, but we also have a broken immigration system."
So far in 2022, there have been over 1,946,780 encounters with illegal aliens at the southern border, surpassing last year's totals, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection had 1,734,686 such encounters. Over 69% of these illegal aliens are single adults. As a point of comparison, in former President Trump's final year in office, there were 458,088 encounters at the southern border.
Todd pressed Harris on whether she was indeed confident in the border's security.
Harris responded: "We have a secure border in that that is a priority for any nation, including ours and our administration."
She reiterated her earlier claim that it is a priority of the Biden administration to "put into place a law and a plan for a pathway to citizenship for the millions of people who are here and are prepared to do what is legally required to gain citizenship."
The amnesty push
Democrats have long sought to confer amnesty and ultimately citizenship on millions of illegal aliens.
Then-candidate Joe Biden indicated during his 2020 campaign that he would seek to work with Congress on "providing a road map for citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants."
Upon taking power, the Biden administration introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which would have set illegal aliens up for citizenship and provided green cards to others present in the U.S. illegally. Since Republicans would not support such a measure, the bill died.
Democrat lawmakers tried to get amnesty provisions into the Build Back Better Act, which would have provided amnesty to at least 7 million illegal aliens and work authorizations to many more. The bill passed the House but was not taken up by the Senate.
Is the border really "secure"?
In response to Harris' remarks on "Meet the Press," Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas) told Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures" that Harris "has done nothing for us in South Texas to secure the borders. She's useless."
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) tweeted on Sunday that "VP Harris and President Biden are clueless when it comes to border security. Let's call this for what it is: an Open Border Policy."
In another tweet, Ducey wrote: "Border security is clearly NOT a priority for the Biden Administration. They have NO IDEA what's happening at their nation's southern border."
Referencing the recent revelation that over 66 suspects on a U.S. terror watch list had been caught illegally crossing the border, Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) wrote: "How many got away undetected? Border security is national security. Under the Biden administration, we have neither."
In August, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) suggested that "The Biden Regime has facilitated an invasion of our sovereign borders of more than 4.2 million illegal aliens since January 2021."
According to Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, the perception that illegal aliens are permitted into the U.S. under the Biden administration's policies has spurred more criminal traffic across the border. "In my experience, we have seen increases [in illegal immigration] when there are no consequences."
Harris' past remarks regarding border security
Harris stated on ABC's "The View" in 2019 that illegal aliens should not be treated as criminals. "It should be a civil enforcement issue, but not a criminal one," she said. "We can't treat people like criminals when they are crossing the border."
In her 2019 book "The Truths We Hold," Harris noted that "a wall on the border with Mexico was a total waste of taxpayer money."
She explained to NPR that she "would not enforce a law that would reject people and turn them away without giving them a fair and due process to determine if we should give them asylum and refuge."
When Trump suggested he would send the U.S. military to secure the southern border until the border wall was completed, Harris claimed that doing so was about "vilifying people" and that there were more pressing issues such as "climate change, because guess what, guy, it's real and it's a crisis."