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Vice President Harris says she is planning to visit Mexico and Guatemala

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Vice President Kamala Harris said Wednesday she is planning to travel to Mexico and Guatemala as part of her efforts to resolve the border crisis.

In March, President Joe Biden gave Harris the position of leading U.S. efforts with Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle countries – Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala – to stop the flow of migrants into the U.S.

At a Northern Triangle security roundtable on Wednesday, Harris said she plans to go to Guatemala “as soon as possible,” later adding that she will also be visiting Mexico.

“We have plans in the works to go to Guatemala, as soon as possible, Harris told reporters.”

“Our focus is to deal with the root causes and I am looking forward to traveling, hopefully as my first trip, to the Northern Triangle, stopping in Mexico and then going to Guatemala.”

The Biden administration has faced intense criticism of their handling of the historic surge in migrants to the border.

Harris has been called “the worst possible choice” to lead the efforts on the border crisis by Gov. Doug Ducey, who also said she “flat out” doesn’t care.

The Vice President previously went 21 days without holding a news conference to answer reporters’ questions about her border-related role.

President Biden currently has no plans to visit the border.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Report: Denver area migrants cost $340 million to shelter, educate

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A report by the free-market Common Sense Institute found the more than 42,000 migrants who have arrived in Denver over the last year and a half have cost the region as much as $340 million. The city of Denver, local school districts, and the region’s health-care system have spent between $216 million and $340 million combined to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the migrants, and to provide them with emergency medical care.

National Review explains the report builds off a previous report from March that conservatively found that the migrants had cost the region at least $170 million. “Costs are never localized,” said DJ Summers, the institute’s research director. “They expand outward.”

Democratic leaders are being blamed for their welcoming posture toward immigrants generally, and their sanctuary-city policies, which curtail law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Since late December 2022, at least 42,269 migrants — or “newcomers” as Denver leaders call them — have arrived in the city, adds National Review.

The Common Sense Institute report found that the migrant crisis has also hit local emergency rooms hard with extensive expenses. Since December 2022, migrants have made more than 16,000 visits to metro emergency departments. At an estimated cost of about $3,000 per visit, that has resulted in nearly $48 million in uncompensated care.

Summers said those costs are “stressing existing health care organizations,” but they also indirectly hit residents in their pocketbooks through increased insurance prices.

Metro school districts have endured the biggest financial hit — estimated between $98 million and $222 million — according to the Common Sense Institute report. The large range in costs is due to the difficulties researchers had identifying exactly how many new foreign students are tied to the migrant crisis.

The researchers found that since December 2022, 15,725 foreign students have enrolled in local schools. Of those, 6,929 have come from the five countries most closely identified with the migrant crisis — Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On average, it costs a little over $14,000 to educate a student for a year in a Denver-area public school, but Summers said migrant students likely cost more.

“They have transportation needs that are different, they have acculturation needs that are going to be different, language assistance needs that are going to be different,” he said. “Many of them might need to get up to speed in curriculum. They might need outside tutoring.”

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers approved $24 million in state funding to help school districts statewide plug budget holes related to the migrant students.

Summers said the updated Common Sense Institute tally is likely still missing some costs related to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“There are definitely additional costs. We just don’t have a great way to measure them just yet,” he said, noting legal fees, crime, and unreported business and nonprofit expenses.

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