The Corner


Really? Biden’s ‘Border Czar’ Was Always Meant to Serve Just 100 Days?

White House Coordinator for the Southern Border Ambassador Roberta Jacobson takes a question during a daily press briefing hosted by Press Secretary Jen Psaki at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 10, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)


Roberta S. Jacobson, the former ambassador to Mexico whom President Biden chose as his “border czar” on the National Security Council, will step down at the end of the month, she said on Friday, even as the administration struggles to confront a surge of migrants at the nation’s southwestern border.

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.

Really? Who goes to work for the White House for 100 days?

Because there was no mention or indication of her appointment being a temporary, 100-day job when she started:

In this newly-established NSC position, Jacobson will play a key role in implementing the Biden administration’s proposed reforms to the national asylum system and managing national security challenges stemming from Mexico and Central America.

[Mari Carmen Aponte, a former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador and acting assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs under President Barack Obama] praised the decision to bring Jacobson into the NSC, characterizing her as a dogged diplomat with deep knowledge of how Washington works and extensive contacts across Latin America.

[Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute] said Jacobson—and the rest of the incoming administration—will be tasked with striking a difficult balance, reforming the asylum system without triggering any new surges in migrants attempting to cross the border.

“There’s a real balancing act between starting to make changes, but not doing it so quickly that you incentivize large unauthorized flows [of new migrants] that undermine the space you have to work,” he said.

Does that sound like they’re describing a person who would be in the job for just a bit more than three months?

Nor was there any indication that Jacobson was in a temporary position when she addressed the White House press corps a month ago. This was the press conference where Jacobson said in English, “the border is not open,” and then declared in Spanish, “la frontera no esta cerrada,” which means “the border is not closed,” before correcting herself several minutes later.

Look, maybe Jacobson always meant to serve for just 100 days, or about 16 Scaramucci Units. But Biden’s immediate changes on border policy generated the first, most pressing, and most consequential crisis of his administration, leaving him lamely insisting that the waves of migrants were just part of a normal seasonal pattern, an absurd position now that more than 172,000 migrants were caught at the Southern border, the most in more than two decades. And if Jacobson really was the right choice to serve as a “border czar,” this seems like a particularly odd time for a “border czar” to leave, as the crisis is still ongoing.

Rather than this always being a temporary position – a fact that apparently everyone in the Biden administration just forgot to mention — it seems more likely that either Jacobson wants to get out before she becomes a scapegoat for the disastrous policy changes, or is getting shoved out behind the scenes because she is indeed becoming a scapegoat for the disastrous policy changes.

Oh, and on March 24, Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris  would “lead our efforts with Mexico and the Northern Triangle and the countries that help — are going to need help in stemming the movement of so many folks, stemming the migration to our southern border.”

Since then, Harris has not traveled to the border or held a press conference or on-camera briefing on the ongoing efforts.


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