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A New Border Czar: Biden Asks Vice President Harris to Take Charge of the Surge

Image Source: (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Image Source: (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

As the border crisis escalates, President Biden is putting Vice President Kamala Harris in charge to oversee both enforcement of the border and diplomacy with the home countries of arriving immigrants.

"When she speaks, she speaks for me," the President said Wednesday. "She doesn't have to check with me. She knows what she's doing."

"Needless to say, the work will not be easy," said Harris. "But it's important work. It is work we demand and the people of our countries need, to help stem the tide we have seen."

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That tide now includes more than 16,000 immigrant children in U.S. border custody.

Biden is trying to blame the Trump administration for the border crisis. "This new surge started with the last administration but it's our responsibility," he said. 

But Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says the Biden administration has lost control.

"This is not Trump's fault," he said. "This is policy choices that were ill-conceived that have blown up in the Biden administration's face."

A newly released Border Patrol video dated March 17th reveals cramped conditions in a facility meant to hold 250 people, now bursting with close to 4,000. Children can be seen sleeping under foil blankets. 

The news website The Hill is reporting that COVID-19 is complicating the situation, with more than 300 children in custody who tested positive now in isolation.

On Wednesday, members of Congress toured a new facility for unaccompanied teens. On Friday, 18 senators will visit the Rio Grande Valley to see for themselves what's happening.

A Trump public health order allows the U.S. to quickly return adults and families stopped at the border, but Axios reports that Homeland Security numbers show officials sent back fewer than 15 percent of families last week.

In recent weeks, the administration has made more than 10,000 beds available near the border, with plans to open new facilities in the coming weeks. That includes military bases in Texas that will house teenagers.

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