Roberta Jacobson, the Biden administration’s coordinator at the southern border, announced on Friday that she would step down from her position at the end of April.
The administration continues “to drive toward the architecture that the president has laid out: an immigration system that is humane, orderly and safe,” Jacobson said. “I leave optimistically. The policy direction is so clearly right for our country.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained 172,331 migrants crossing illegally from Mexico to the U.S. in March, the highest monthly total in 15 years. Among those, Border Patrol agents detained 18,890 unaccompanied minors, the highest number of migrant children ever detained in a single month on the southern border.
Jacobson was tasked in part with addressing migrant flows from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, where many of the migrants attempting to reach the U.S. originate. Biden announced last month that Vice President Kamala Harris would lead efforts to deal with economic issues in the Northern Triangle region.
“I briefed and worked in support of the vice president’s leadership on this issue,” Jacobson said. “Nobody could be more delighted to see the vice president take on that role. It didn’t have anything to do with my decision.”
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan praised Jacobson’s work following the announcement.
“There was no person better to usher in a more safe, secure and just approach to our southern border,” Sullivan said in a statement. Jacobson will depart “having launched our renewed efforts with the Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and having underscored this administration’s commitment to re-energizing the U.S. immigration system.”
At a mid-March press conference, Jacobson attempted to say in Spanish that the southern border was closed to migrants. However, Jacobson mistakenly said “la frontera no está cerrada,” which means “the border is not closed.” Jacobson corrected her statement later in the press conference.