“I can’t think of a better partner as we rebuild our immigration system,” Julie Rodríguez, Biden cabinet member said of Alida García.
As the fragile migration situation at the US-Mexico border continues to surface, the main question is how the Biden administration will handle the influx of migrant detainments.
Just this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki added that the White House was working with Homeland Security officials and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “finalize details” about the migration issue and that she hoped to have an update in the “coming days.” While the public waits for those details, the Biden administration will have some experts on its side.
On March 19, Alida García, a lawyer turned activist and vice president of advocacy for the group FWD.us, announced she would join the White House as senior advisor for migration.
“There is an incredible opportunity ahead of us to build the fair, functional, and humane immigration system America deserves,” García stated on Twitter. “I’m excited to do my part helping @POTUS & @VP make that a reality!”
García’s passion and voice for undocumented people and the Latino community as a whole through her work at FWD.us and her activism, have been instrumental in bringing awareness and compassion to critical immigration issues in the US. Because of that comprehensive experience, others such as Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Julie Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, touted her appointment in the White House as well.
“I’m pleased @POTUS has named @leedsgarcia Senior Advisor for Migration,” Rep. Hoyer tweeted. “Alida has been a strong voice for humane and thoughtful immigration policy. She was instrumental in the passage of the Dream and Promise Act and will be an excellent addition to the Administration.”
Currently, the administration is rushing to open more space to get roughly 5,000 children out of Border Patrol detention and into HHS facilities that are better suited for youth. It has also tried to expedite the release of children in HHS custody to parents and other sponsors in the US. But border agents continue to apprehend far more children daily than HHS is releasing, even though more than 40% of youths in the system have a parent or legal guardian who could take them.
The Biden administration also sees its emergency facilities for immigrant children approach capacity almost as quickly as it can open them. According to HHS, the downtown Dallas convention center has 1,500 teenagers less than a week after opening and is expected to take in 500 more teens Monday. Its current capacity is 2,300 people.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.