In an interview with The Daily Caller‘s Samantha Renck published Wednesday that touched on a variety of topics relating to immigration, the senator was asked for his thoughts on Harris’ new role, which she was appointed to last Wednesday.
Noting that he had served with Harris on the Senate Judiciary Committee before she became vice president and that he has “great respect” for her, Kennedy said that they have “sharp disagreement on immigration.”
“Putting the vice president in charge of solving this problem […] is like making El Chapo the drug czar,” Kennedy also remarked, charging that Harris believes in “open borders.”
The senator went on to slam the vice president for past statements of hers in which she was critical of border patrol and called aspects of former President Donald Trump‘s hardline immigration policy “racist”.
As Politico‘s Eugene Daniels noted on Monday, Harris’ exact role hasn’t been fully laid out publicly yet. While senior administration officials keep emphasizing that Harris isn’t in charge of the administration’s overall immigration agenda or activity at the border, Symone Sanders, Harris’ senior advisor and chief spokesperson, told reporters Friday that the vice president received an “extensive briefing on the northern triangle and Latin America” and would be “speaking with leaders from the region in the near future.”
Senior administration officials, including President Joe Biden and Harris, have yet to call the deteriorating situation a “crisis,” despite pressure for them to characterize it as such.
“Of course, President Biden says we can’t call it a crisis. How about a category 5 hurricane?” Kennedy, who recently visited the southern border with 18 other U.S. Senators, told Renck of what he saw. “I’m not sure there are words in English.”
“It’s thousands and thousands of people flooding in,” he said.
MORE ON THE BORDER: AOC: Calling the border crisis a ‘surge’ pushes ‘white supremacist philosophy’
Among other things discussed during the interview, the Louisiana Republican said the United States needs to return to the immigration policies it had back in December, when Trump was still president. The senator pointed specifically to bringing back the “Remain in Mexico” policy for processing refugee applicants; finishing construction of Trump’s border wall, the funds for which Biden froze on his first day in the Oval Office; and ending to “catch-and-release”. He also said the U.S. shouldn’t give foreign aid to certain Central American countries, noting that they are run by authoritarian governments and are corrupt.
Watch the full Daily Caller interview with Sen. Kennedy here.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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CA to provide all low-income illegal immigrants health care at a cost of ‘$2.7 billion a year’
On Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a $307.9 billion operating budget “that pledges to make all low-income adults eligible for the state’s Medicaid program by 2024 regardless of their immigration status” reports the Associated Press.
The guarantee of free health care for low-income immigrants here illegally, is a “move that will provide coverage for an additional 764,000 people at an eventual cost of about $2.7 billion a year” adds the AP.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care nonprofit, people living in the country illegally in 2020 accounted for roughly 7% of the population nationwide, or about 22.1 million people. The border crisis and number of migrants entering the United States illegally has skyrocketed to historic levels since 2020 when President Joe Biden took office.
Medicaid nationwide is the current combination of federal and state governments assisting Americans and low-income adults and children to receive free health care, but the federal government does not cover those living here illegally.
“Some states, including California, have used their own tax dollars to cover a portion of health care expenses for some low-income immigrants” reports the AP. “Now, California wants to be the first to do that for everyone.”
“This will represent the biggest expansion of coverage in the nation since the start of the Affordable Care Act in 2014,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a statewide consumer health care advocacy group. “In California we recognize (that) everybody benefits when everyone is covered.”
While 92% of Californians currently have some form of health insurance, “that will change once this budget is fully implemented, as adults living in the country illegally make up one of the largest groups of people without insurance in the state” the AP concludes.
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