‘Playing Politics With Human Lives’: Immigration Activists Walk Out On Biden Admin During Virtual Meeting

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Immigration activists walked out of a meeting with President Joe Biden’s top officials Saturday for standing by their decision to reinstate the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy.

Activists read a statement to the White House Domestic Policy Council’s Esther Olavarria and members of the Department of Homeland Security before the start of the virtual meeting, according to Politico. The activists told officials that they are “playing politics with human lives.”

“We have sadly reached a turning point,” they said, according to the outlet. The pro-immigration advocates then left the meeting.

“I cannot stand one more meeting of them pretending,” said immigration advocate Ariana Saludares, the outlet reported. “They give us accolades on the outside, but on the inside, we’re having to take out the metaphoric knives on our back.”

Advocate Luis Guerra told the outlet that the administration is not truly fighting to open entry for asylum seekers and fears “backlash” from anti-immigration activists. (RELATED: Ted Cruz: ‘The Border Has Been A Catastrophe Since Biden Ripped Up The Remain In Mexico Policy) 

Tensions arose over the administration’s Friday announcement that the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, is scheduled to take place in November. The Trump-era policy requires migrants to wait in Mexico border towns until their scheduled U.S. immigration hearings.

A federal judge ordered the administration to reimplement the policy in August in response to a lawsuit by Texas and Missouri, who argued that the policy was “unlawfully halted.” The Department of Homeland Security immediately filed a court appeal in an effort to once again end the program once it goes back into effect, a White House official told Politico.

“The Biden administration has been very clear that MPP is not an immigration policy we agree with or support. That’s why the Department of Homeland Security immediately appealed the court injunction once it was ordered,” the official said.

The administration appealed the judge’s decision to the Supreme Court, which the Court immediately struck down in a 6-3 decision in mid-August.

The Biden administration initially halted the MPP on the day the president was sworn in, announcing there would be no new enrollments added in the program that left 70,000 migrants in Mexico. Since the start of the administration, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration Customs and Enforcement have encountered a continually increasing influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The administration has received backlash from advocates for their continued use of Title 42, a Trump-era public health order that rejects migrants’ entry over COVID-19 concerns, the outlet reported. In August, border city McAllen, Texas declared a state of emergency after border officials released nearly 1,500 migrants who had tested positive for COVID-19.