The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Immigration Deals:
Playing with People’s Lives

Sep 24, 2017

Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer reported they have reached an agreement with Donald Trump to work out a deal to reinstate DACA (or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). This would be in exchange for much more money spent on further militarizing the U.S. borders.

This was treated as a big Democratic coup – and maybe it was good politicking on the Democrats’ part, to score points against the Republicans. But it was NOT a move to help these young immigrants.

Trump played a vicious game when he announced he was revoking DACA – throwing 800,000 young people into fear for their futures at the stroke of a pen; then saying that he would like to keep them in the country but that it was up to Congress to pass a law within six months to do so. Six months in which the DACA recipients have absolutely no idea what will happen or whether they will have a home.

Since DACA required that all those who applied for the program give their full addresses, they now live with the very real fear that the information could be used to round them up and deport them at a moment’s notice – no matter what Trump may assure them in his tweets.

But DACA itself was a vicious move, putting these young people into a constant state of uncertainty. DACA, authorized by Barack Obama when he was president, allowed undocumented immigrants under the age of 31 who were brought to the U.S. as children to get two-year, renewable work permits.

DACA was billed as a way to give young people a chance to stay and work in the only country many of them have ever known. In fact, it gave only these specific immigrants a legal status, and only for two years – and only on the condition that they are enrolled in school, or have a job ... or join the military. That means the threat of having their status revoked is constantly hanging over these young peoples’ heads, if they cause any problems whatsoever for their bosses – like complaining about their wages or working conditions – or if they protest conditions at the schools they attend.

This was not a favor to undocumented immigrants – it was a favor to their employers, helping them have a quiet, controllable work force!

Pelosi and Schumer make it sound like the Democrats are being the more humane, more reasonable of the two parties in this. But really, the Democrats are just as monstrous as the Republicans. They are willing to make the same attacks on the immigrants who are part of the working class, as shown by their agreement to support the further militarization of the border.

But really, this is not at all surprising. Immigration “reform,” carried out by both Democrats and Republicans over the past forty years, has always been about giving the capitalist class what they want in the way of a workforce they can use and control as they see fit. It has never been about doing what is right for millions of people trapped in poverty and fear.

This is not only an attack on undocumented workers; it is also an attack against all immigrant workers, now that they see that a supposed legal status can be taken away at any moment. And it does nothing for all those others without a legal status, people who might be 40 or 50 years old and have been working here for years, paying taxes, paying into Social Security. Beyond that, it is an attack on all workers. When one section of the working class can be held down and forced to accept low wages and lousy working conditions, that drives down the wages and conditions of all the rest of the workers too. ALL immigrant workers need full rights and protections, no matter how they came here.

The divisions inside our class today are weapons in our enemies’ hands – one the capitalists use fully in their endless drive to pull down everyone’s wages and working conditions. This is something we all must understand.