The White House on Wednesday conceded that President Joe Biden was exacerbating the crisis on the Southern border by offering “hope” to migrants trying to enter the United States.
White House National Security Council adviser Roberta Jacobson spoke to reporters at the daily press briefing about the crisis.
“Surges tend to respond to hope,” she said. “And there was a significant hope for a more humane policy after four years of, you know, pent-up demand.”
Jacobson accused smugglers of spreading “disinformation” about Biden’s new border policies, admitting that it was a challenge to send the right message to migrants.
“I think it’s a reflection of how migrants feel at a particular time,” she said. “I think what we are doing is making sure that we respond to that hope for people who need protection.”
Jacobson acknowledged during the briefing the administration was struggling with the issue of “mixed messages” by trying to signal hope to potential migrants for a path into the country while also reminding them of the dangers of the journey.
“I will certainly agree we are trying to walk and chew gum at the same time,” she said.
In March, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said children sent by “loving parents” from Central America would not be turned away by officials at the border.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said “we are not trying to close our borders” and added the priority of the Biden administration was to “create an effective, moral, humane system.”
Even Jacobson struggled with sending the right message during the press briefing, telling migrants in Spanish “la frontera no esta cerrada,” meaning, “The border IS NOT closed.” After a White House aide passed her a slip of paper during the briefing, Jacobson corrected her statement to say “la frontera esta cerrada,” meaning, the border IS closed.