Special Assistant to the President and Coordinator for the Southern Border Roberta Jacobson said Friday that she is leaving government at the end of the month, making the announcement a day after U.S. Customs and Border Protection released data showing record numbers of illegal immigrants are pouring into the U.S. from Mexico.
What are the details?
National security adviser Jake Sullivan issued a statement saying that Jacobson would be "retiring from her role as Coordinator" at the end of this month, saying the move was "consistent with her commitment at the outset to serve in the [Biden] Administration's first 100 days."
Jacobson, the former ambassador to Mexico, confirmed the news to The New York Times while praising the Biden administration, saying, "They continue to drive toward the architecture that the president has laid out: an immigration system that is humane, orderly and safe."
She added, "I leave optimistically. The policy direction is so clearly right for our country."
The Times reported that Jacobson intends to leave government entirely at the end of April, adding:
The timing of her departure is nonetheless striking, coming in the middle of the administration's efforts to reduce the flow of immigration from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Ms. Jacobson had been charged with leading that effort when her appointment was announced this year.
On Thursday, the CBP reported that according to their numbers, March saw the highest monthly total of migrants attempting to cross into the U.S. from Mexico in more than a decade, hitting 172,000 — a 71% increase from the month before.
More than two weeks ago, President Joe Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris would be taking the lead for the administration to stem the surge of migration at the southern border, but Harris has yet to hold a news conference on the matter or to visit the area.
In Sullivan's statement on Friday, he reiterated that Biden asked 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."
Jacobson denies that Harris being tapped to handle the crisis had any bearing on her decision to step down, telling The Times, "I briefed and worked in support of the vice president's leadership on this issue. Nobody could be more delighted to see the vice president take on that role. It didn't have anything to do with my decision."