Roberta Jacobson Quits: Kamala Harris Behind Resignation of Biden's Border Czar?

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In a big blow to the Biden administration, the President's coordinator for the southern border, Roberta Jacobson, resigned from the position even as the US is struggling to handle the influx of migrants at the US-Mexico border.

"Consistent with her commitment at the outset to serve in the administration's first 100 days, Ambassador Jacobson will retire from her role as coordinator at the end of this month," White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a a statement.

A record number of of unaccompanied children crossed the border in March under Biden's watch, throwing uneasy limelight on the detention of thousands of minors in camps. There was more than 60 percent increase in the number of children who crossed, compared with the numbers in the same period last year.

The US Customs and Border Protection said it had 172,331 'encounters' in March, nearly 70 percent rise over February and a five-fold increase over the same month in 2020.

US-mexico border
US-Mexico border Reuters

With the influx of children, federal officials are forced to find accommodation and other facilities for them, even as the Biden administration is accused of detaining greater number of minors at the border than the Trump administration did.

The Department of Health and Human Services has hinted it is looking for lodge unaccompanied minors at open temporary facilities at US military bases.

The NYT reported that Jacobson, a former ambassador to Mexico, repeated that her position as border coordinator was designed to last only through the first 100 days of the Biden administration.

Jacobson shaped the US relationship with Mexico as an equal partner, and launched renewed efforts with the Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said. Jacobson also underscored the administration's commitment to re-energizing the US immigration system," Sullivan added, according to UPI.

Jacobson said she was happy about the progress her team has made. "They continue to drive toward the architecture that the president has laid out: an immigration system that is humane, orderly and safe .. I leave optimistically. The policy direction is so clearly right for our country," she told the NYT.

Meanwhile, President Biden has asked Vice President Kamala Harris to formulate policies on Mexico and the Northern Triangle and lead the administration's efforts to improve the conditions in the region. "President Biden has asked Vice President Kamala Harris to lead the Administration's work on our efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle, a testament to the importance this administration places on improving conditions in the region," Sullivan said.

Some observers believe that Harris coming in to take the crucial role may have something to do with Jacobson's departure.

However, Jacobson denied this in a conversation with the NYT. A White House official also said 'nothing has changed' as the vice president carries out the role focusing on diplomatic efforts in Northern Triangle countries, KMOV4 reported.

This article was first published on April 10, 2021