Roberta Jacobson, senior Biden official overseeing border, stepping down at end of month

ByJasmine Wright and Kaitlan Collins, CNN, CNNWire
Saturday, April 10, 2021
Pressure remains on what to do about the crisis at the border
Congressional Republicans, who are visiting the U.S.-Mexico border, went to a detention center where migrants are being held and criticized the Biden administration's handling of the situation.

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden's border coordinator is stepping down at the end of the month, the White House announced Friday -- an unusual time given the administration is dealing with record numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the US southern border.

Roberta S. Jacobson was appointed as a special assistant to the President and was a key official dealing with the surge of migrants at the US-Mexico border. She told The New York Times in an interview published Friday that her appointment was only meant to last for the first 100 days of the administration, which is April 30.

"They continue to drive toward the architecture that the president has laid out: an immigration system that is humane, orderly and safe," Jacobson told the Times. "I leave optimistically. The policy direction is so clearly right for our country."

In a statement, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said, "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."

"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 continued.

"The Vice President is overseeing a whole-of-government approach supported by outstanding public servants across the interagency including Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, who were tasked by the President at the beginning of the administration to rebuild our immigration system."

A White House official said that nothing has changed in the vice president's role that focuses on diplomatic efforts in Northern Triangle countries to address the root causes of migration.

Jacobson was tasked with dealing with countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador on stemming the tide of migrants.

Jacobson denied to the Times that Biden putting Harris in charge of overseeing diplomatic efforts with those Central American countries had anything to do with her departure.

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