Susan Rice, leaving the administration, talks of what is potential in a divided nation

Home coverage adviser Susan Rice speaks throughout a information briefing on the White Home on Jan. 26, 2021. Rice is stepping down from the submit. Drew Angerer/Getty Photographs conceal caption


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Drew Angerer/Getty Photographs

Home coverage adviser Susan Rice speaks throughout a information briefing on the White Home on Jan. 26, 2021. Rice is stepping down from the submit.

Drew Angerer/Getty Photographs

Susan Rice is stepping down from her submit as President Biden’s chief home coverage adviser. It’s the newest of her a number of turns in authorities.

Through the Obama administration, Rice held high-profile international coverage positions, together with nationwide safety adviser. In a memoir, she wrote about President Barack Obama’s alternative to not bomb Syria in 2013: “There have been solely dangerous choices and worse ones.”

Rice tells NPR that one thing related has been true about home points throughout the first 2 1/2 years of the Biden administration: On divisive topics, one of the best hope has usually been to take the least dangerous choice. But she didn’t sound like she felt it had been her hardest job: “Whereas there are numerous intractable home points, I dare say there could also be extra internationally,” she stated.

President Biden says his top domestic policy adviser, Susan Rice, is leaving

Rice’s employees assembled a listing of accomplishments by which she performed some function. The record touches a lot of the agenda of the administration as an entire. It’s a guidelines of particular coverage adjustments that might have an effect on many lives, although they’ve hardly ever dominated information headlines — objects like “beginning the method for a minimal nursing residence staffing commonplace,” increasing “postpartum Medicaid protection in additional than 30 states” and launching “the 988 Suicide & Disaster Lifeline.”

Gun management and immigration pose the hardest challenges

Some points did dominate the headlines, and in an exit interview we mentioned her eager about two particularly tough ones: gun management and immigration.

Biden wants to boost background checks on gun buyers. But it's hard without Congress

One yr in the past this week, a gunman killed 19 kids and two lecturers in a college in Uvalde, Texas. The shock was nice sufficient that Congress handed the primary bipartisan gun laws in many years — nevertheless it was extraordinarily modest, together with measures comparable to providing incentives to states to enact crimson flag legal guidelines. Biden took equally modest steps by govt order; extra dramatic measures comparable to a renewed assault-weapons ban seem politically out of attain.

“The president has taken as a lot govt motion as is feasible, actually, with the authorities that the president has,” Rice argued. The remaining was out of the administration’s palms. “Clearly, we needed Congress to do extra,” she stated. Republicans have insisted that the Second Modification to the Structure bars most gun regulation, they usually have additionally resisted measures seen as constitutional.

“I’m an optimist,” Rice stated, however argued that “Congress in the mean time just isn’t adequately reflecting the desire of the individuals.”

Immigration policy is uncertain now that Title 42 has been lifted

Federal immigration coverage is, if something, extra divisive, and the division cuts throughout get together strains. The suitable-wing media ecosystem performs up the risks of migrants and asylum-seekers, however big-city Democratic mayors from El Paso, Texas, to New York have additionally stated their cities have too many to deal with. The previous two Democratic presidents — Obama and Biden — have been painted by Republicans as too welcoming to new arrivals, whereas they’ve additionally confronted assaults from progressives who’ve known as them too merciless.

“We’re a nation of immigrants,” Rice stated, “but we are also a nation of legal guidelines,” needing to “implement our legal guidelines and safe our borders, at the same time as we on the identical time allow those that want the refuge or asylum to have the ability to make their claims.”

Early within the administration, the U.S. made a higher effort to absorb unaccompanied minors who had been crossing the border, uniting them with households or sponsors in america. It quickly grew to become obvious that a few of these minors had been getting used as youngster laborers by their sponsors. Rice insisted that the administration was “very involved” and has improved its techniques for monitoring kids.

What’s left after Title 42

This month, the administration lastly confronted the expiration of Title 42, the pandemic-era authorized authority first utilized by the Trump administration to make it simpler to expel asylum-seekers and others. To the dismay of immigrant advocates, the administration had lengthy resisted lifting the restriction, which was largely seen as an excuse for deportation. It has now been changed by a mixture of insurance policies that make it simpler for some individuals to use for asylum legally, whereas additionally making it simpler to expel others who cross the border illegally.

“We’re opening up lawful pathways for individuals who qualify to return to america by means of packages that Republican governors and Republican lawyer generals and people in Congress are attempting to overturn,” Rice stated. On the identical time, she asserted, “the quantity of people that have sought to cross between our ports of entry with out authorization has fallen by over 75% since Title 42 was lifted.”

Rice acknowledged that this obvious success could not final. But it surely counts among the many cases throughout her contentious tenure by which, she suggests, the least dangerous choice was ok.