Other news stories might currently be dominating the headlines, but the crisis at the southern U.S. border is still a very real and disastrous situation which is reportedly beginning to result in growing frustration inside President Joe Biden’s White House and within his administration.
According to Politico, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is one of the root causes of that frustration, as he and his department’s response to housing a record influx of unaccompanied minors was described in the report as “sluggish,” with complaints filed against his department by no less than eight “current and former government officials.”
Becerra and HHS were initially tasked with taking charge of finding appropriate housing for the tens of thousands of illegal migrant children, many of whom are still being held in overflowing, temporary holding facilities with deteriorating conditions, which continually causes a public relations nightmare for the Biden administration.
Reportedly, some of Biden’s top aides, such as Domestic Policy chief Susan Rice, have pressed Becerra and HHS in recent weeks to work faster to tackle the escalating crisis, pointing out that the situation will only continue to worsen as summer nears.
Becerra is also reportedly facing increased scrutiny from within the ranks of his own department, as some officials within HHS have allegedly expressed their concerns about Becerra’s ability to lead efforts to provide viable solutions to the ongoing issue.
“He did not fully appreciate the issue when he first came in,” a senior administration official reportedly told Politico. “It’s been a steep learning curve for him.”
As of this writing, HHS workers are releasing roughly 300 migrant children to sponsors on a daily basis, but in order to keep up with the influx — which continues to skyrocket — that number should be closer to 1000 children released per day and without immediate action, the backlog will continue to grow.
While the number of migrant children detained at the border in February was horrible, the number in March doubled to nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors who were caught at the border, stretching dangerously thin the already maxed-out available space in various holding facilities.
Only time will tell if Becerra is able to get any kind of grip on the situation, but the rumblings coming from the White House seem to at least partly suggest that the newly-minted HHS secretary might soon be seeking new employment.