Mission accomplished? Why is Biden's real 'Border Czar' stepping down ahead of schedule?

Mission accomplished? Why is Biden's real 'Border Czar' stepping down ahead of schedule?
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

National Security Council Coordinator for U.S. Southern Border Roberta Jacobson, the Biden administration’s border czar, is stepping down at the end of April. The administration is brushing off questions about timing and cause for her resignation by pointing out that she only signed on for the first 100 days. Such a provision at a time like this is odd enough, but Jacobson isn’t even sticking around the full 100 days.

The southern border is a crisis of Joe Biden’s making. Jacobson was paraded out by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in March and at that time she used the same talking points as everyone else in the administration uses – the border crisis is a challenge, not a crisis. She dishonestly pointed to the Trump administration and said the Biden administration inherited a mess at the border. Since her appointment, Jacobson has pretty much been missing in action as far as a casual observer can tell. For those of us who try to keep up with developments on the southern border, she doesn’t factor into any news coverage. If she was appointed by Status Quo Joe to provide some kind of confidence that the situation is under control, she has failed miserably. Apparently, her ambassador skills aren’t enough to stop the rush to the southern border.

We know she isn’t leaving early because everything is running so smoothly that she can step away with confidence and say, “Mission accomplished.” The border crisis is growing, not becoming manageable. Record numbers of migrants are being recorded each month. Jacobson is a former ambassador to Mexico, she knows how bad things are on the border. She and Kamala Harris, the person tapped by Biden to oversee the crisis, should have already made trips to the U.S.-Mexico border to see the situation on the ground in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. Jacobson has admitted that the Biden administration sends mixed messages to migrants coming to the border.

Former US ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson will retire at the end of the month, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan saying Friday that the move was “consistent with her commitment at the outset to serve in the Administration’s first 100 days.”

The move was announced less than a month after Jacobson admitted that the White House was sending “mixed messages” to migrants from Central and South America, saying “it is difficult at times to convey both hope in the future and the danger that is now.”

The move comes as the Biden administration is reportedly considering sending cash payments to Central Americans in a bid to prevent them from making the trek north and as Vice President Kamala Harris, tapped by Biden to handle the crisis, still has yet to visit the border.

The Biden administration is putting a premium on working to ease the crisis on the border by addressing root causes of mass migration coming out of Central American countries. That’s a reasonable part of the equation but it doesn’t solve the chaos now seen in the Rio Grande Sector or Del Rio Sector, to use two examples on the Texas side of the border. The administration is reported to be considering a cash payment plan to encourage migrants to remain in their home countries. Is this why Jacobson is leaving? She either thinks this is a great idea or she is frustrated that the only solution Team Biden can come up with is to hastily throw up more shelters along the border and just start handing out cash to discourage the rush to the border. Is a pay-to-stay plan the best the administration can do?

The United States is considering a conditional cash transfer program to help address economic woes that lead migrants from certain Central American countries to trek north, as well as sending COVID-19 vaccines to those countries, a senior White House official told Reuters on Friday.

The potential program would be targeted at people in the Northern Triangle region of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Roberta Jacobson, the White House’s southern border coordinator, told Reuters in an interview, without saying who exactly would receive cash.

“We’re looking at all of the productive options to address both the economic reasons people may be migrating, as well as the protection and security reasons,” Jacobson said.

She didn’t offer any explanation of how a cash payment transfer plan will work. “The one thing I can promise you is the U.S. government isn’t going to be handing out money or checks to people,” Jacobson said. Which likely means that is exactly what will happen. What are they going to do, though? Is the administration going to position people on the U.S. border and have them pass out cash in hopes that the migrants will turn around? Will they bring pallets of cash to Northern Triangle countries for the program, only for that money to fall into the hands of the corrupt leaders in those countries, not the people in need of help? Both of those scenarios sound crazy. But, then again, handing over pallets of cash to the Iranian leadership of murderers and brutal dictators happened during Biden’s time in the Obama administration, so it’s not like a similar scenario is unreasonable to ponder happening now in other countries.

Jacobson indicated that offering to send coronavirus vaccines as an incentive for Northern Triangle countries to encourage their people to stay is not a part of working on immigration solutions. She considers the two topics as completely different discussions. I could have sworn I heard the Biden administration say they will use vaccine diplomacy. That is what the doses sent to Mexico are called.

Biden said that Kamala Harris is the most qualified person to handle the border. That is a breathtaking statement, given the fact that she is probably one of the least qualified persons I can think of to manage the border crisis. She has no credentials to show any kind of expertise in immigration, legal or illegal. If Kamala is doing her job, why is the situation on the ground going from bad to worse? And, why is Jacobson bailing out early?

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