Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tried to shield Vice President Kamala Harris from some of the heat she has received for flying to El Paso, Texas, on her trip to the southern border as opposed to the Rio Grande.
"I recommended to the vice president that we visit El Paso because it is one of the busiest sectors on the border," Mayorkas said at a press conference Friday at the conclusion of Harris's trip. "El Paso reflects many diverse elements of our mission. It demonstrates also the progress that has been made and the work that remains."
The secretary added that El Paso had experienced "overcrowding" in March, when unaccompanied migrant children were housed by Border Patrol for an average of more than 120 hours, violating immigration law.
During the short press conference, Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Texas Democrat, described her district as "the perfect place" for Harris "to continue on her exploration of the issues around why people are leaving their country," thanking the vice president for accepting her invitation to come.
"El Paso has been central to so much of what we have seen for decades when it comes to immigration," she said. "We have to completely reenvision the way that we greet migrants at our nation's front door."
Democrats, including Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, have criticized Harris for her delayed journey south, but also for choosing to travel to El Paso instead of the Rio Grande.