Trump’s war on immigrant workers has moved into high gear as new orders unleash the full force of the U.S. government to greatly expand deportations, harassment, and provocative police actions in minority communities.
Barak Obama, deportations reached a record high 434,000 for the
single year 2014. Known as the “Deporter-in-Chief,” Obama, during
his entire presidency, oversaw the deportation of over 2 million
immigrant workers, more than any previous president.
fearful that the Democrats would lose support in the 2016 elections,
Obama subsequently implemented guidelines that slightly limited
deportations during his final two years in office; 2015 saw a 23
percent reduction from the 2014 record high.
new plans scrapped some second-term Obama guidelines and issued new
ones that signal the dawn of an all-out offensive that could end in
mass roundups. All new measures are designed to broaden and
aggressively expedite deportations.
Feb. 22 New York Times reported: “Documents released …
revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize
crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy
protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new
detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately,
speed up deportations.”
Department of Homeland Security’s new offensive would:
15,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and agents
expand lists of immigrants prioritized for deportation
up deportation hearings
expand the capability of Immigration enforcers to bypass due process
protections by allowing “expedited deportations,” which totally
bypass judicial review
“partnerships” with local police to assist in patrols, with full
authority to make arrests
detainment of immigrants until brought before an immigration judge
and throughout legal proceedings. Court backlogs currently delay
hearings more than one year
for federal prosecution of parents of “paperless” minors who
cross the border unaccompanied by a parent
enforcers to bypass personal privacy protections previously provided
under past administrations
with practices of the Obama administration, Trump continues the
racist branding of “paperless” immigrant workers as “criminals”
who pose a threat to “public safety.” The new orders vastly
expand the definition of what Trump during his campaign called
“criminal aliens,” that “routinely victimize Americans,”
ignore the “rule of law and pose a threat” to society.
new guidelines, virtually all immigrant workers without
papers are subject to arrest, ICE/police harassment, and deportation
at any time. The orders expand the list of immigrants targeted for
deportations to include anyone either sentenced or accused of any
only group not yet included is that of the Dreamers, 750,000
immigrants under protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals program. Having come to this country as children, many have
been issued work permits and are not included in Trump’s new
policies. But they remain under significant threat since Trump loudly
touted termination of this program during his campaign, calling it
addition, Dreamers are under serious threat by the new provision
eliminating privacy protections, which enables enforcers to violate
personal privacy of “paperless” immigrants and even those in
possession of a green card. This means that any personal data
previously provided to U.S. immigration agents could be used against
them in future immigration proceedings.
provision threatens Dreamers especially, since all who applied for
this status during the Obama years in order to avoid deportations
were required to provide extensive personal background information on
application forms. All personal information supplied by Dreamers to
avoid deportation can now be used by the government to deport them.
immigration raids began in the first part of February. During just
one week, ICE enforcers arrested over 680 immigrants in at least 11
states. Immigrants who had been earlier targeted by ICE were seized
during neighborhood “sweeps” of streets and homes at all times of
the day and night. Trump explained the raids by his bellicose
declaration and lie that “gang members, drug dealers & others
are being removed!” On Feb. 23, Trump referred to the deportation
raids as “a military operation.”
erupted in response. On Feb. 13, more than 20,000 marched in
Milwaukee, protesting raids and Milwaukee County Sheriff David
Clarke, who is providing local police to act as federal immigration
Feb. 16, immigration rights activists took to the streets in at least
12 states, declaring “A Day Without Immigrants.” These actions,
billed as a “one-day strike,” brought out over 5000 protesters in
Chicago and thousands more in other cities.
Alabama, 60 businesses closed down, and hundreds of restaurant
workers walked off the job around the country. USA
Today reported that high schools around the country had noted
unusually high absenteeism, and one-third of high school students in
Phoenix had skipped class.
News reported that over 100 workers were fired for participating
in the nationwide protests. Of these, 18 were strikers terminated by
Bradley Coatings, a commercial painting company in Nashville, Tenn.
Workers were warned they would be fired, but walked off the job
the Democratic and Republican parties favor deportation and other
forms of regulating the flow of immigrants into the U.S. They differ
only on what level of flow is necessary. Both capitalist parties
benefit from the super-exploitation of immigrants, because nearly all
U.S. industries, including Trump’s luxury resorts, profit mightily
from the cheap and sometimes slave labor these immigrants provide.
and the Republicans are aggressively expanding the program of
deportations conducted under the Democrats. Trump is utilizing
Obama’s method of targeting “undesirables” or “non-deserving”
immigrants who may have been arrested, jailed, or charged in the U.S.
The Republicans use a broader definition of “criminal,” but both
capitalist parties want to deport what they term “undesirables.”
false idea that a certain category of immigrant deserves deportation
needs to be roundly rejected. It divides the immigrant rights
movement, which stands opposed to all deportations. It also provides
political cover for politicians who spread the lie that large
sections of the immigrant population are “criminals.” Nothing can
be farther from the truth.
capitalist parties promote the fiction that poor immigrants in search
of a job and a better life can easily chose to enter the U.S.
“legally.” This cynically exploits the widely held
misunderstanding behind the question, “Why don’t they just get in
line?” In fact, no line is available for the vast majority of the
poor workers and farmers who are classified as “unauthorized”
immigrants. The “regular channels” in U.S. immigration rules
simply don’t apply to them, and in most cases “legal” entry
requires a U.S. employer to request specific workers.
who cross U.S. borders to work have no rights as citizens, can be
deported at any time, and are forced to accept the lowest paying and
most dangerous jobs. They are demonized and in constant fear of
deportation and separation from their families, which makes them easy
targets—prey to greedy employers out to manipulate and abuse them.
super-exploitation provides another benefit to capitalist owners; it
allows them to maintain sharp divisions in the working class, and
drive down wages of the working class as a whole, pitting one section
of workers against another. This is especially fostered by the racist
scapegoating of Mexican workers.
orders, like those of his predecessors, are not intended to stop the
flow of immigrant labor into this country, but merely to regulate it.
Many U.S. industries profiting from exploitation of immigrant workers
fear Trump’s new orders will force their workers back to Mexico and
require them to hire U.S. citizens at higher wages. They support a
flow of “paperless” immigrants sufficient to allow their
businesses to continue to profit.
liberals, including the reactionary labor union bureaucracy readily
join the crusade to scapegoat Mexican workers—or immigrants from
other Latin American countries who are lumped into the category of
“Mexicans.” The privileged union bureaucrats, who have demonized
immigrants for years, now buy into Trump’s nationalistic “America
First” and protectionist “Buy American” themes, promoting the
rhetoric that these measures would help protect the jobs of
native-born U.S. workers.
approach is thoroughly racist, falsely painting the main problem as
competition between U.S. and Mexican workers, and aids ruling-class
efforts to divide working people from each other. Actually, our
struggle is one with that of Mexican workers in demanding that our
capitalist governments provide good jobs and union rights for all,
regardless of which side of the border we happen to live on.
socialists are internationalists, working to build solidarity among
workers everywhere. To fight against unemployment and for good paying
jobs, we demand government-funded public-works programs. These can
rebuild badly needed infrastructure and build things we need—like
housing and schools—and put millions of unemployed back to work at
effective working-class program gives special attention to the plight
of immigrant workers. It demands an end to deportations, ICE raids,
and all forms of harassment and racist scapegoating. It also demands
that immigrants receive “legal protections” afforded to other
citizens; this means tearing down the Wall and demanding full citizen
rights for all immigrant workers.
Marxists, we are first and foremost internationalists, and as such we
call for open borders. Borders are a means by which the
employers control their private property, capital equipment, and wage
labor. Immigration controls give employers power over migrants beyond
what they can exert over native workers. The capitalists put forward
the policy of “secure borders” as a way of whipping up national
chauvinism, encouraging workers to oppose, mistrust, or ignore
workers living elsewhere.
do socialists answer? The First International of Karl Marx and
Frederick Engels put it this way: “The poor have no country; in all
lands they suffer from the same evils; and they therefore realize
that the barriers put up by the powers that be, the more thoroughly
to enslave the people, must fall.”
to Deportations and Raids! Equal Rights for All Immigrants! Open the
>> The article above was written by Mark Ugolini and is reprinted from Socialist Action.