A major crevice has opened up among Democrats who believe that what conservatives have called President Joe Biden’s “open borders” approach to immigration is way too strict.
On Saturday, immigration advocates staged a virtual walkout during a video meeting with administration officials because the White House is attempting to restore a Trump-era immigration policy, according to Politico.
The collection of immigration activists on the call read a statement accusing the Biden White House of “playing politics with human lives” and that the activists could no longer “come into these conversations in good conscience.”
“We have sadly reached a turning point,” they said. Then many clicked off.
“I cannot stand one more meeting of them pretending,” said Ariana Saludares, 40, of the group Colores United.
“They give us accolades on the outside, but on the inside, we’re having to take out the metaphoric knives from our back,” said Saludares, who was on the video meeting.
The catalyst for the clash was the announcement last week that Biden, who came into office denouncing former President Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy, is going to embrace it beginning next month, according to CNN.
The “Remain in Mexico” policy, known formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols, required migrants seeking asylum to await their hearings in Mexico.
The order came in response to the reality that many illegal immigrants who claimed asylum and were given court dates would never appear, instead drifting into the United States, never to be found again.
Biden tried to end the policy when he took office, but in August, in response to a lawsuit from Texas and Missouri, a U.S. district judge ruled the administration did not lay sufficient administrative groundwork to end the program, according to The Washington Post.
Activists claim that politics has become the driving force in the Biden administration’s immigrant policy decisions.
“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,” said Luis Guerra, 32, of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, according to Politico. He also walked out on the administration on Saturday.
“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,” he said.
The administration has been criticized for its continued use of Title 42, a public health order used in the Trump era, that allows for deportations due to COVID-19.
This perfectly summarizes the Democrats’ immigration policies for the last 25 years: “Immigration activists say the Biden administration is ‘playing politics with human lives'” https://t.co/aSjcXHxSUM
— Matthew Kolken (@mkolken) October 17, 2021
“It’s almost like we were bamboozled into thinking that this was going to be the best option, and it isn’t. It’s actually worse,” said Saludares. “It is as if you know that your family is now turning against you and telling you that it’s OK. It’s not.”
Taylor Levy, an immigration attorney said that “All my optimism about this administration is utterly shattered,” according to CNN.
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