Vice President Kamala Harris took a swipe at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Tuesday after the Republican blamed the death of 53 migrants in a sweltering tractor-trailer on the Biden administration.

“[These are] people who — it seems by what we know so far — were trying to live a better life,” Harris said in an interview with NPR. “How the governor of that state responded really highlights part of the problem because his response when there are 50 dead bodies in his state is to go straight to politics.”

“These deaths are on Biden,” Abbott seethed on Twitter late Monday, shortly after the tragedy was discovered. “They are a result of his deadly open border policies.”

“They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law,” the governor added.

Biden shot back in a statement that accused Abbott — though not by name — of “political grandstanding.”

The 53 bodies were found in an abandoned trailer in San Antonio, Texas in a suspected smuggling attempt.
The 53 bodies were found in an abandoned trailer in San Antonio in a suspected smuggling attempt.
Getty Images

Abbott again blamed President Biden on Wednesday, saying at a press conference that the big rig carrying the doomed migrants wasn’t inspected when it passed through a Border Patrol checkpoint in Encinal, Texas.

Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris said that the 53 migrants who died in a tractor-trailer were “trying to live a better life.”
Christopher Dilts – Pool via CNP

“It wasn’t inspected because the Border Patrol does not have the resources to inspect all the trucks and as a result, the Border Patrol did not have the capability of saving those lives,” Abbott said. “Mr. President, you can fix that.”

Harris insisted to NPR that the Biden administration has indeed been working to fix the crisis at the border.

“Our administration has been taking [smuggling] quite seriously,” she said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blamed the deaths of the migrants on the Biden Administration’s “refusal to enforce the law.”
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“There have been over 2,000 arrests just in the last three months. I think there are at least eight indictments that have happened,” she added. “We need to deal with that, right? In terms of the consequences of criminal behavior that results in death.”

Harris has had a rocky relationship with border issues since Biden tapped her in March 2021 to address the “root causes” of migration from Latin America.

Harris last year visited Guatemala and Mexico, but the June trip was overshadowed by her difficulty answering reporter questions about why she hadn’t visited the US-Mexico border. Harris visited the border shortly after that trip, but only after former President Donald Trump booked a visit to denounce his successors.

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said he has given up on working with Harris on the immigration crisis.
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said he has given up on working with Harris on the immigration crisis.
AP

While criticism of Harris from Republicans was relentless, at least one border-state Democratic lawmaker said in December he had also given up working with the veep on immigration.

“I say this very respectfully to her: I moved on,” Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told the New York Times. “She was tasked with that job, it doesn’t look like she’s very interested in this, so we are going to move on to other folks that work on this issue.”

In late May, a Post analysis found that Harris had hosted just one public event so far this year focused on migration — a Jan. 27 trip to Honduras to attend the inauguration of the country’s new president. While there, Harris said her focus on the “root causes” of migration would not fix the US-Mexico border crisis “overnight.”

Meanwhile, Abbott announced the creation of additional checkpoints, task forces and fencing Wednesday, in an effort to stave off illegal border crossings and discourage human smuggling.

A previous effort by Abbott to supplement what he characterized as anemic federal border enforcement did not go as planned, however. In April, the governor was forced to walk back his Department of Public Safety cargo inspections after they slowed cross-border commerce and cost the state’s economy an estimated $100 million a day.



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