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Video shows VP Harris criticizing Trump decision to send troops to border — which Biden is now doing

By Ben Marquis
|
May 4, 2023

Recent reports indicated that President Joe Biden is set to deploy active-duty U.S. military troops to the southern border ahead of an expected surge of illegal migrants once the pandemic-era Title 42 public health order is lifted on May 11.

Yet, a resurfaced video from 2018 shows Biden's vice president, then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), sharply criticized former President Donald Trump for doing the exact same thing, the Daily Mail reported.

At that time, Harris called Trump's move to better secure the porous southern border with military troops an "inappropriate" use of "limited resources" and nothing more than a stunt to further a "political agenda."

Those prior remarks leave VP Harris open to legitimate charges of hypocrisy and partisan double standards from her critics and will likely force the White House to answer some tough questions and explain why what was deemed unacceptable then is now appropriate and necessary.

Harris Previously Criticized Troop Deployment to Border

In 2018, then-President Trump deployed several thousand active-duty military troops and National Guard soldiers to the southern border as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration and cross-border trafficking of drugs and people.

At that time, in an interview with NBC News, then-Sen. Harris decried that action as an unnecessary political stunt and a waste of valuable resources, according to Mediaite.

In thanking the deployed soldiers and Marines for their service, Harris said, "I also believe that the administration made a decision to deploy them based on a political agenda."

"And I believe that it is inappropriate to require the limited resources of the United States military to be used in such a way when it was -- you know, these folks who are being deployed there, they’re gonna leave, they’ve left their families, they will not be home, it looks like, for Thanksgiving," she continued.

The Democratic California senator added, "And all because there needed to be some demonstration for the TV cameras based on a political agenda instead of what is a national security threat."

Biden's Ordered Troop Deployment

According to the Associated Press, President Biden recently authorized the 90-day deployment of 1,500 active-duty and Reserve members of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps to the southern border, where they will supplement the 2,500 National Guard troops who are already deployed to the border region.

Those troops will not be engaged in enforcing border security or immigration laws but rather will be assigned to various administrative and logistical tasks in order to free up more U.S. Border Patrol agents for such enforcement activities.

The decision was made in light of an anticipated surge of tens of thousands of migrants who are waiting on the Mexican side of the border for the May 11 lifting of the Title 42 public health order first imposed in March 2020, which allowed for the immediate expulsion of migrants at the border due to concerns about spreading the COVID-19 disease.

Along with the troop deployment, Biden has also announced other efforts to try to speed up the processing of asylum claims -- including by opening up centers in foreign nations where migrants can be processed and flown directly to the U.S. to bypass the border -- as well as quickly expel unqualified migrants and punish those who have entered the country illegally.

The AP noted that when then-President Trump ordered military troops to the border, they were similarly engaged in supportive non-enforcement roles while Border Patrol agents and other federal immigration officials dealt with processing a series of massive migrant caravans that had approached the border and attempted to enter the country illegally.

Texas Border Cities Preemptively Declare States of Emergency

Meanwhile, NewsNation reported that several border cities in Texas -- including El Paso, Brownsville, and Laredo -- have declared local states of emergency in advance of the end of Title 42 amid predictions of a substantial surge of tens of thousands of migrants who will immediately seek entry on and after May 11.

Those under-resourced cities and other towns in the border region are already facing significant overcrowding issues with migrants camped on the streets, and the declarations make them eligible to obtain additional resources and funding from the state and federal governments to help deal with the attendant problems.