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The political risks of Kamala Harris mission on immigration

Any missteps will be seized upon by Republicans who are targeting the VP relentlessly as part of a long-term strategy to weaken a potential future Democratic presidential nominee. Immigration is an issue ripe for demagoguery, as exemplified by ex-President Donald Trump. The Biden Administration offered the GOP an opening after it was caught flat-footed on a surge of child migrants earlier this year. Harris aides — trying to avoid a damaging political banana skin — have repeatedly stressed her mandate is international and does not encompass border issues.

For much of the last four months, Harris has been literally in Biden’s wake — standing behind him in almost every formal public appearance as he sends a message of a unified team and enhances her status as his first lieutenant. The President has also given his unspoken successor another tough job, organizing the Democratic fight against a raft of Republican attempts to restrict voting in upcoming elections.

Neither the immigration nor the voting rights assignments offer much promise for success. But they are an opportunity for Harris to create her own White House legacy — and will test her skills and qualifications for the one executive office higher than the one she already holds.

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