Kamala Harris' Director, Deputy Director of Advance Resign Amid Border Trip

Two Kamala Harris staffers in charge of planning travel and trips for the vice president are resigning amid her long-awaited trip to the U.S. southern border.

Karly Satkowiak, Harris' director of advance, and Gabrielle DeFranceschi, Harris' deputy director of advance, have both told the vice president's office they plan to leave in the coming weeks, The New York Times reported. The news comes just as Harris touched down in Texas on Friday and is planning to ramp up travel to push vaccination efforts next month.

Staffers working on the vice president's advance team are responsible for planning all of her trips, surveying venues for Harris to visit and working with local officials to get the venues prepared for the media.

An advance team often travels ahead of every public appearance to set the stage and anticipate any potential issues so that when a politician arrives, the scene is perfectly curated and mitigates any damage to their image.

It is unclear why Satkowiak and DeFranceschi are resigning at this time.

Harris arrived in El Paso, Texas, on Friday morning after facing heavy criticism from Republicans for not making a trip to the border in recent months as U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports an unprecedented number of migrants.

Kamala Harris Trip Travel Staffers Advance Resignation
Vice President Kamala Harris exits a private plane at Fort Worth Meacham International Airport on October 30, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. Two of Harris' staffers in charge of trip logistics are resigning in the coming weeks just as the vice president's team plans to ramp up travel. Montinique Monroe/Stringer

Since President Joe Biden tasked Harris with leading diplomatic efforts in the Northern Triangle to address immigration, the vice president has faced a smatter of backlash for not having visited the U.S.-Mexico border and for her rocky first trip to Guatemala and Mexico earlier this month.

During the two-day trip, critics slammed Harris for avoiding answering whether or not she would go to the border.

"At some point, you know, we are going to the border," Harris told NBC News while on the Central America trip. "We've been to the border. So this whole, this whole, this whole thing about the border. We've been to the border. We've been to the border."

However, her absence reached a boiling point this week when the White House announced the border trip on Wednesday, scheduling Harris to arrive just days before former President Donald Trump makes his own trip there with a group of House Republicans and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Harris is being accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin and Democratic Representative Veronica Escobar of Texas.

Harris' team is also planning to book her to travel across the nation come July to ramp up vaccination efforts as fewer Americans are getting vaccinated.

But without a team to handle the logistics, the latest resignations will provide another challenge for Harris' team, which is fairly new to the job. Most of Harris' staffers joined her as she entered the White House, unlike Biden's team who has long surrounded him throughout his political career.

Newsweek reached out to Harris' office for comment but did not hear back before publication.