Immigration activists walked out on a virtual meeting with the Biden administration, accusing it of ‘playing politics with human lives’

Joe biden immigration press conference
President Joe Biden. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
  • The Biden administration said Thursday it would reinstate the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy.
  • Immigration activists walked out of a meeting with Biden officials on Saturday, Politico reported.
  • The activists said they couldn’t continue having these meetings in “good conscience.”

Immigration activists walked out on a virtual meeting with top officials in President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday, Politico reported.

Before the start of the virtual meeting, activists asked for some time and read a statement in which they accused the administration of “playing politics with human lives” and said they couldn’t “come into these conversations in good conscience,” according to Politico.

Buzzfeed News reported that the walk-out was a result of the Biden administration’s plan to restart a policy made under former President Donald Trump that forced migrants to wait in Mexico while their US asylum cases were processed in the courts.

The administration said it was prepared to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, better known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy in mid-November, in a court filing on Thursday night.

The Washington Post reported that Biden officials said they signed contracts to reopen “tent courts” at border crossings in the cities of Laredo, and Brownsville, Texas.

This decision came after a Trump-appointed judge ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the policy in August, arguing that the administration improperly ended it.

The Post reported that the Supreme Court upheld the decision, forcing the administration to reinstate the policy.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but told The Post in a statement it’s “taking necessary steps to comply with the court order, which requires us to reimplement MPP in good faith.”

Buzzfeed reported that in their statement before walking out on Saturday, activists said: “There is no improved version of MPP. It is not possible to make the inhumane, humane, the unfair, fair, or to breathe life into a deadly program.”

A White House official told Politico that “the Biden Administration has been very clear that MPP is not an immigration policy we agree with or support.”

For the policy to be reinstated, Mexico also has to agree, the Post reported.

Politico reported that while the “Remain in Mexico” policy played a role in the walkout on Saturday, immigration activists have been growing increasingly frustrated with the Biden administration’s policies and have said they’re being driven by politics.

Luis Guerra, a strategic capacity officer at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, was among those who walked out of Saturday’s meeting.

“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,” Guerra 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.”

The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.