Roberta Jacobson, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, is stepping down this month as the Biden administration’s border envoy amid what has devolved into tragic a humanitarian crisis.
The New York Times reported Jacobson will leave her post as “border czar” on the National Security Council, having only been in that position since January.
“Ms. Jacobson said that her appointment as a special assistant to the president and as the border coordinator in the White House was always intended to last for only about 100 days — a period that will expire at the end of April, when she intends to leave government,” The Times reported.
Jacobson offered a brief statement about her decision to leave the post and her career in government as the border crisis worsens.
“They continue to drive toward the architecture that the president has laid out: an immigration system that is humane, orderly and safe,” she stated. “I leave optimistically. The policy direction is so clearly right for our country.”
Jacobson also offered comment on Vice President Kamala Harris being announced as the administration’s point woman on the border.
“I briefed and worked in support of the vice president’s leadership on this issue,” she said. “Nobody could be more delighted to see the vice president take on that role. It didn’t have anything to do with my decision.”
Despite the former ambassador’s statement about exiting after a short tenure with the NSC, the timing of her departure is curious — a fact that was noted by The Times, which called her abrupt exit “striking.”
“Two weeks ago, in a separate interview with The New York Times, Ms. Jacobson talked expansively about her plans to travel to Central America, where she said she expected to work with government officials on reducing the flow of migrants north toward the United States,” the paper reported.
While blaming former President Donald Trump for creating the crisis on the border on March 10, Jacobson divulged that, in her opinion, the Biden administration had helped to encourage illegal border crossings.
“President Biden has made clear from day one that he wants to change our immigration system. Doing so means truly building back better because we can’t just undo four years of the previous administration’s actions overnight,” she said. “Those actions didn’t just neglect our immigration system. They intentionally made it worse.”
Jacobson blamed Trump for creating a pent-up demand for border crossings, but she admitted Biden’s language about border had given people hope that they’d be welcomed in with open arms after crossing the border.
“But I certainly think that the idea that a more humane policy would be in place may have driven people to make that decision, but perhaps, more importantly, it definitely drove smugglers to express disinformation, to spread disinformation about what was now possible.”
“We are trying to convey to everybody in the region that we will have legal processes for people in the future … but at the same time, you cannot come through irregular means,” she also said.
“The border is not open,” she added in Spanish.
Despite assuring would-be migrants that the border was not open, few people were apparently deterred by her language.
NPR reported that in the month of March, an estimated 19,000 unaccompanied migrant children crossed the border into the U.S., and most of them presumably remain in detention centers.