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Ducey: Harris ‘worst possible choice’ to lead southern border response

(AP Photos)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey isn’t an advocate for Vice President Kamala Harris leading the White House effort to tackle the migration challenge at the U.S. southern border.

“She’s about the worst possible choice that one could make,” Ducey said Wednesday at a press conference in Tucson. “At no point in her career has she given any indication that she considers the border a problem or a serious threat.

“If President Biden’s intent was to show that he’s taking this issue seriously, he’s really done the exact opposite here. He’s completely trivialized this issue by putting someone in charge who flat out just doesn’t care.”

President Joe Biden made the announcement as he and Harris met at the White House on Wednesday with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandra Mayorkas and other immigration advisers to discuss the increase in migrants, including many unaccompanied minors, arriving at the border in recent weeks.

Ducey, in a separate press conference last week at the Arizona border town of Douglas, tore into the Biden administration as being “totally divorced from the reality on the ground” when it came to issues at the border.

He said Biden’s immigration policies have directly led to a surge in unauthorized border crossings.

Biden has faced stiff criticism from Republicans like Ducey over the increased flow of migrants since he took office in January.

“It should be someone who’s got some experience or some passion about the issue if they intend to have success,” Ducey said.

In delegating the matter to Harris, Biden is seeking to replicate a dynamic that played out when he served as President Barack Obama’s vice president.

Obama turned to Biden in his first term to lead the White House effort to draw down U.S. troops in the intractable war in Iraq and oversee implementation of the American Recovery Act in response to the Great Recession.

“When she speaks, she speaks for me,” Biden said, noting her past work as California’s attorney general makes her specially equipped to lead the administration’s response.

Harris is tasked with overseeing diplomatic efforts to deal with issues spurring migration in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as pressing them to strengthen enforcement on their own borders, administration officials said.

More broadly, though, she’s tasked with implementing a long-term strategy that gets at the root causes of migration from those countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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