“I cannot stand one more meeting of them pretending,” Ariana Saludares, an activist from the New Mexico-based Colores United, who attended the Saturday meeting, told Politico. “They give us accolades on the outside, but on the inside, we’re having to take out the metaphoric knives from our back.”
The activists asked for time before the meeting with Biden officials, such as Department of Homeland Security officials and the White House Domestic Policy Council’s Esther Olavarria. They read a statement saying the Biden administration is “playing politics with human lives” and said they could no longer “come into these conversations in good conscience.”
“We have sadly reached a turning point,” they said.
The activists then left the meeting, Politico reported.
The Department of Homeland Security said it is ready to reinstate the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy by mid-November following a court order upheld by the Supreme Court.
“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 White House told Politico, adding that the administration must comply with the law while the DHS works on a different plan to terminate the Remain in Mexico policy.
Tensions between the Biden administration and immigration activists have been increasing in recent months. Politico reported that the activists feel the White House’s immigration decisions are based on politics and officials see the border as a potentially toxic issue for the Democratic Party.
“I think they’re afraid of the backlash of anti-immigrant groups, and we’ll continue to remind them that that backlash will exist regardless of what they do,” Luis Guerra, a strategic capacity officer at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network who walked out of the meeting Saturday, told Politico. “We don’t actually believe they’re doing everything in their power to actually restore asylum at the border, the way that they say that they’re trying to.”