The role of the vice president in any new administration is often a question mark at the end of a successful campaign. The office of vice president has few formal obligations, and many vice presidents have gone down in history as little more than figureheads. What legacy will Kamala Harris preserve? That remains to be seen, but President Biden has assigned Harris to manage the border crisis down south. Here’s how she’s doing so far.
This was not an easy assignment to receive, and political analysts have already suggested that it was like being handed a “political grenade.”
Advisers have suggested that balancing priorities will showcase the difficulties of the job, which include political negotiations with Central American leaders — who she needs to work with without seeming to the American public that she wants to work with them.
President of Migration Policy Institute Andrew Selee said, “The tone issue looks at how do you both recognize the need to work with the people in the region and at the same time call attention to some of the real deficits of governance in these countries.”
Harris has agreed to work with members of the Cabinet and special envoy to the Northern Triangle Ricardo Zuniga in order to facilitate progress.
She told reporters, “When we’re looking at my focus, which is a diplomatic focus on the Northern Triangle, it is about bringing together…the members of the Cabinet.”
Guatemala is proving a difficult obstacle for Harris. Lawmakers in the country refused to put an anti-corruption judge on the bench after U.S. officials suggested it would greatly benefit future negotiations. Guatemala also wants to purchase COVID vaccines from the United States, but it wasn’t immediately apparent whether or not the U.S. planned to make any deals.
Co-director of Latin America Working Group Lisa Haugaard said, “[Harris] must keep a distance from the Honduran government right now.”