The Spark

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

A Terror Campaign against Immigrant Workers

Feb 20, 2017

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.... They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Donald Trump said these openly racist words during his election campaign. And after getting elected, Trump has continued to attack immigrant workers. He has bragged about the raids and deportations carried out by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

Deportation has always been a threat hanging over the heads of the people who live and work in the U.S. without legal papers, whose number today is estimated at about 11 million. But Trump’s open racism against “Mexicans” – his code word for working-class immigrants from South of the border, combined with increased publicity about recent ICE raids and deportations, will no doubt make undocumented workers and their loved ones feel more threatened than usual.

All this, in the end, amounts to a terror campaign run by U.S. immigration authorities – aimed at keeping undocumented workers in fear, rather than keeping them out of the U.S.

How else could it be explained that there are more than 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S.? The U.S.-Mexico border is already highly militarized, and the U.S. works closely with the Mexican government to control the flow of immigrants from Central America through Mexico. U.S. authorities could no doubt stop a big part of this flow of immigrants from the South, if that was their goal.

But the authorities don’t want to do that. And that’s because companies in the U.S. have always relied on undocumented workers as a low-wage labor force – precisely because they have no rights and are always threatened by deportation. The routine operations of ICE – the raids, detentions and deportations – serve the purpose of maintaining that pressure on low-wage immigrant workers. And today, with the President of the U.S. openly attacking that section of the working class, this terror regime is probably more effective.

But if native-born workers think that this terror campaign against immigrant workers doesn’t affect them, they are mistaken. Such divisions only weaken the working class. If one section of the working class is forced to accept low wages, it enables companies to impose lower wages on all workers.

This attack on immigrant workers is aimed at the entire working class.