Since President Joe Biden took office in January, there has been much speculation as to who is truly calling the shots in his administration, particularly with regard to the escalating migrant crisis at the border, and amid word of a high-profile resignation this week, there remain far more questions than answers.
In a surprising development, the Biden administration announced Friday that former ambassador to Mexico and current White House border “czar” Roberta Jacobson will step down at the end of April, as Fox News reports.
According to the administration, Jacobson had agreed to accept the role of border coordinator for the initial 100 days of the Biden presidency, and that period is set to expire at month’s end. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan praised her brief service in the role, saying according to The Hill:
Ambassador Roberta Jacobson’s leadership in serving as the Special Assistant to the President and Coordinator for the Southwest Border at the National Security Council has been an invaluable contribution to the Biden-Harris Administration and to the United States.
Sullivan added that Jacobson will depart “having shaped our relationship with Mexico as an equal partner, having launched our renewed efforts with the Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and having underscored this Administration’s commitment to re-energizing the U.S. Immigration system.”
Jacobson herself asserted that the policy direction of the White House on immigration remains sound, and that [administration officials] “continue to drive toward the architecture that the president has laid out: an immigration system that is humane, orderly and safe,” adding, “I leave optimistically. The policy direction is so clearly right for our country.”
The rosy picture painted by Jacobson about the status of border policy arguably stands in stark contrast to actual conditions on the ground in affected parts of the country as well as the observations made by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
In March alone, there were over 171,000 illegal border crossings that included the arrival of more than 18,800 unaccompanied children – the highest number seen in a single month since 2006, according to the Washington Post, and the conditions in which detainees are being held have continued to deteriorate. Not only are there reports of severe overcrowding which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called “inhumane,” “horrifying,” and “barbaric,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R ) has reported receiving information about alleged sexual assaults of migrant youth held in a San Antonio detention facility.
Though President Biden tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to “lead efforts” to address the crisis at the border, two weeks into the role, she has yet to visit the impacted region, hold a press conference to outline steps being taken by the administration, or give any other significant outward sign that she is an integral part of any White House response, as the New York Post noted.
While it may be true that Jacobson’s departure from was indeed planned all along, it does little to quell the deepening suspicion among the American electorate that the Biden administration is either ill-equipped or deliberately unwilling to take concrete steps to stem the migrant tide.