Kamala Harris Was Minutes From A Migrant Facility With ‘Heartbreaking’ Conditions For Kids. She Did Not Visit

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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Vice President Kamala Harris was just minutes from a facility housing migrant children in “heartbreaking” conditions during her trip to the border Friday, but did not visit the facility.

Harris visited the border in El Paso on Friday and spoke minutes away from a migrant facility at Fort Bliss U.S. Army Base, which has been described as a “tent city in the desert” housing roughly 1,600 young migrants. Officials watching over the facility have expressed deep concern that the migrants in the facility are under threat of self-harm, and have gone so far as to remove pencils, pens, scissors, nail clippers and toothbrushes from the tents, according to CBS News.

Some of the children have been placed on suicide watch, with 24-hour in-person supervision from facility officials. Several of the teenagers have also attempted to escape the facility, and others have held protests demanding better living conditions, according to CBS.

President Joe Biden tapped Harris to lead his administration’s response to the ongoing immigration surge in March, but it ultimately took her 93 more days to visit the border. Harris had insisted that her role was to address “root causes” of illegal immigration, not to visit the border itself.

Nevertheless, Harris argued Friday that she had always planned to visit the border at some point. (RELATED: Nikki Haley Says Kamala Harris ‘Never’ Would Have Gone To The Border If It Wasn’t For Trump)

“I’m glad to be here–it was always the plan to come here–and I think we’re going to have a good and productive day,” Harris said Friday. “I said back in March that I was going to come to the border, so this is not a new plan. The reality of it is that we have to deal with causes and we have to deal with effects.”

Harris referenced migrant children living in poor conditions during her El Paso visit, arguing they are “full of hope.”

“They are without their parents. They are also full of hope. They were asking me questions. ‘How do you become the first woman vice president?’ But it also reminds me of the fact that this issue cannot be reduced to a political issue. We’re talking about children. We’re talking about families. We’re talking about suffering. And our approach has to be thoughtful and effective,” Harris said.