Amid widespread speculation about precisely who is calling the shots at the White House these days, the Biden administration has made a series of unusual moves as it struggles to address the growing crisis at the country’s southern border.
While facing an onslaught of criticism in regard to its handling of an influx of migrant youth seeking entry to the United States, the Washington Examiner reports that the White House has made the emergency decision to tap Jill Biden as the public-facing voice of the administration’s family reunification initiatives, a decision almost certain to raise eyebrows across the political spectrum.
It is thought that the administration aims to capitalize on Mrs. Biden’s current popularity, which Gallup placed at 57% favorability last month, in order to take some of the pressure off of other administration officials, such as Vice President Kamala Harris, who likely have future political aspirations, as the Examiner noted.
According to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Mrs. Biden has “driven us to action through her personal commitment to this moral imperative. And that moral imperative is to reunite the families and restore them to the fullest capacity that we, as the United States government, can do.”
Indeed, the first lady has been stepping to the forefront of this discussion frequently in recent days, including by participating in an interview of her husband by Univision anchor Ilia Calderón in which she bizarrely interjected to clarify the president’s stance on the treatment of unaccompanied children at the border.
The increased number of migrants requesting asylum in recent weeks is threatening to overwhelm a system that was the subject of sweeping reforms during the Trump administration, and Biden has since been blasted from the left for re-opening the same kinds of detention centers he decried throughout the 2020 campaign.
In response to those critiques, White House press secretary Jen Psaki brushed off comparisons to the previous administration, arguing:
This is not kids being kept in cages. This is a facility that was opened that’s going to follow the same standards as other HHS facilities.
It’s not a replication – certainly not, that is never our intention, of replicating the immigration policies of the past administration, but we are in a circumstance where we are not going to expel unaccompanied minors at the border.
That would be inhumane. That is not what we are going to do here as an administration.
Despite White House efforts to minimize the severity of the situation at the border, with Mayorkas himself denying any characterization of it as a crisis, former President Donald Trump has gone public with a scathing rebuke of Biden, stating:
…the spiraling tsunami at the border is overwhelming local communities, depleting budgets, crowding hospitals, and taking jobs from legal American workers.
Now that Biden has implemented nationwide Catch-and-Release, illegal immigrants from every corner of the Earth will descend upon our border and never be returned. You can never have a secure border unless people who cross illegally are promptly removed.
Precisely how Dr. Jill Biden will attempt to convince a skeptical nation otherwise remains to be seen.