WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris is set to make her first visit to the U.S. Mexico border since taking office.

The visit to El Paso is planned for Friday and it comes after she's received criticism from members of both parties for failing to go there despite taking on a leading role in the Biden administration’s response to a steep increase in migration.  Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is joining Harris for the trip.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

So far, Harris has focused her efforts on improving economic and living conditions in the region. Her aides have insisted that her focus is distinct from the security issues that plague U.S. officials trying to handle a spike in border crossings.

(Story written by ALEXANDRA JAFFE/AP)

KEEP READING: Scroll to see what the big headlines were the year you were born