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Kamala Harris unveils 5-pillar strategy to combat the border crisis. It says virtually nothing about the border.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

VP Kamala Harris unveils 5-pillar strategy to combat the border crisis. It says virtually nothing about the border.

Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday released her long-anticipated plan to combat the ongoing immigration crisis at the U.S. southern border. Unsurprisingly, the plan has scarcely anything to offer as far as the actual border goes.

In fact, the plan, released without a news conference, "does not include a detailed timeline or specific policy actions to be taken" at all, The Hill reported Thursday. Instead, the administration argued the problem could be resolved with greater "engagement" with Central American countries and more "humane" immigration practices, generally.

In a statement introducing the "Root Causes Strategy," the White House touted Harris's five-pillar plan as a core component of the administration's efforts to "establish a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system" through "various U.S. government tools, including diplomacy, foreign assistance, public diplomacy, and sanctions."

But instead of offering concrete solutions to secure the country's southern border amid an unprecedented surge of migrants, the administration deferred to using feel-good language and offering abstract aspirations about addressing the "humanitarian" crisis in Central America.

The lofty, feel-good language can be felt in the plan's stated five pillars, which go as follows, according to a White House fact sheet:

  • Pillar I: Addressing economic insecurity and inequality;
  • Pillar II: Combating corruption, strengthening democratic governance, and advancing the rule of law;
  • Pillar III: Promoting respect for human rights, labor rights, and free press;
  • Pillar IV: Countering and preventing violence, extortion, and other crimes perpetrated by criminal gangs, trafficking networks, and other organized criminal organizations; and
  • Pillar V: Combating sexual, gender-based, and domestic violence.

Nowhere in the five-pillar plan does Harris — who was tasked with managing the border crisis in March — mention anything about border enforcement. One would think that U.S. border enforcement ought to be of utmost importance for the U.S. vice president. But judging by the details of the plan, it seems as if Harris is more concerned with crafting government policy for Central American countries.

Don't worry, Harris indicates to the American people as scores of migrants continue to surge the border — 50,000 of them released into the country without court dates — she and President Biden "have restarted our nation's engagement in Central America and diplomatic efforts with Central American governments."

That promise will likely not come as a relief to border-town Americans and others whose lives are being upended by the border crisis.

Besides, political "engagement" usually means more than talks and vague cooperation. It means dollars, and Harris admits as much in her plan when she says, "We have already received commitments from the governments of Mexico, Japan, and Korea, and the United Nations, to join the United States in providing relief to the region" (emphases added).

In her coverage of the news, HotAir's Karen Townsend noted that all the "fuzzy feel-good language" just means that "the Biden administration is offering up pallets of cash for corrupt Central American leaders [who] will line their pockets and those within their inner circles." Instead, she argued:

Here's what should be happening, if this administration can, in fact, walk and chew gum at the same time. There should be attention paid to the southern border before we worry about long-term solutions to anything. The Biden border crisis is an immediate humanitarian and public health crisis. All the other stuff is unicorns and rainbows and hopes for later in a better world. Who is in charge of the present real-life crisis? It's not DHS and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, obviously. He's still denying the crisis and at the same time claiming everything is under control.

The crux of the matter may be that the administration simply doesn't see the immigration problem as just that — a problem.

One senior administration official acknowledged, "We're not seeking to end migration as part of the fabric of this region ... what we're seeking to change is the ways in which people migrate, to provide an alternative to the criminal smuggling and trafficking rings and to give people access to opportunity and protection through safe legal channels, safe legal pathways."

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