The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Immigration Deals:
Playing with Peoples’ Lives

Sep 18, 2017

Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have 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 out.

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 the government their names, addresses, etc., 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.

Billed as a way to give these young people a chance to stay and work in the only country many of them have ever known, it is more a way to ensure a docile, controllable workforce for the companies that would hire them: DACA gave these specific immigrants a legal status, but 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 can be constantly hanging over these young peoples’ heads, if they cause any problems whatsoever for their bosses—like complaining about their wages or working conditions.

This was not a favor to undocumented immigrants—it was a favor to employers!

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 immigrant 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. 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.

It is in the interest of ALL workers to fight for full rights and protections for all immigrant workers, no matter how they came here. Only then can the working class overcome this division and effectively fight the bosses’ endless drive to pull down everyone’s wages and working conditions.