Texas Democratic Rep. Cuellar wants Harris out as 'border czar,' says VP hasn't put in the effort

Rep. Henry Cuellar represents a district that spans several areas of the U.S. southern border

Updated: November 18, 2021 - 11:23am

A Texas Democrat congressman whose district includes areas along the southwest U.S. border is calling for the replacement of Vice President Kamala Harris as "border czar."

"I’ve moved on from the vice president to say, 'OK, let's work with the ambassadors and let's work with the State Department. Let's work with the Homeland Secretary,'" Rep. Henry Cuellar said Wednesday.

"I think that's the way to address it, but I know that the media has put a lot of focus on the vice president. But with all due respect, she was given that title. I don't think she's, with all due respect, put the effort in there ... .We've got to look at other folks that have the expertise on that," said Cuellar, whose district stretches from San Antonio, to Laredo, to Rio Grande City.

The Biden administration put Harris in charge of the border issue back in March as the number of illegal immigrants flooding across the U.S. southern border was surging. She drew criticism for failing to visit the border for several months and has only visited once since being appointed 'czar.' During that singular visit, Harris stopped in El Paso, Texas, which is 800 miles away from the Rio Grande Valley, considered to be one of the central hubs of the border crossing problem. 

The Biden administration has made the point that Harris' task centers on finding, and trying to improve, the root cause of the migration.

In some part due to the point made by Rep. Cuellar, Harris has suffered plummeting poll numbers. Stats released earlier this month show the vice president with an approval rate of just 28%, and a disapproval rate of 51%. 

The administration has been tasked with tackling a massive crisis at the border, and has appeared slow to respond. More than 1.7 million migrants were encountered in fiscal 2021, and nearly 200,000 were encountered in the month of September alone. In year-over-year figures, the number of migrants apprehended at the U.S. southern border in October surged 128% from 2020-2021. 

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