The Spark

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

Immigrants Under the Gun

Jan 22, 2018

Donald Trump keeps upping the ante in his attacks on immigrants.

Last year, he announced plans to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a program that allows immigrants brought here as young children to work and go to school legally, if they meet all kinds of conditions. More recently, he’s begun attacking what he calls “chain migration” and the lottery system – in other words, legal immigrants.

“Chain migration” just means that immigrants who become citizens can sponsor their close family members to come to this country. Like everyone else, immigrants need to be with their parents as they age, their children, their spouses! In this country without a social safety net, that’s how people survive. And the lottery is how ordinary people are chosen to be allowed to come here from countries where very few immigrants are allowed in. Applicants are vetted extensively after being chosen, in a process that can take years. But Trump and the Republicans try to make it sound like these are two ways that “the worst of the worst” are “flooding into the country.” It is a way to dehumanize one part of the working class in the eyes of another part.

In the face of these attacks, the Democrats are posing as the friends of immigrants. They say that, under Obama, things were better. What a disgusting lie!

Obama deported more immigrants than any president, ever, 2.5 million people! When he was called on it, Obama said that he was only deporting “criminals,” that is, anyone convicted of a crime, including a DUI. Obama was playing on the same rhetoric as Trump, that “we” need to separate the “good” immigrants from the “bad” immigrants. In doing this, Obama put all immigrants under the gun, threatened with deportation if they got in trouble.

And Obama’s DACA program also set up young people, most of whom have known no other country than the U.S., to be directly under the gun. Not only do they have to give the government every fact about themselves, but they have to renew their status every two years. This uncertainty and regular threat of deportation is a way to keep these 800,000 young people in line.

Behind both parties, the capitalist class is using immigrants doubly. Economically, the companies want immigrants here to work for them. They want these immigrant workers afraid to speak up, afraid to lose their job, afraid to fight back. This lets the companies pay immigrants less and treat them worse, and threaten all other workers with these conditions.

And this same capitalist class uses immigrants politically. They want workers born here to blame immigrants for all the problems that the capitalists themselves have caused. This is Trump’s clear message. Can’t find a job? The immigrants stole it. Too much crime? It’s because of the immigrants. Of course, this is all a lie. The companies took the jobs, through speedup, automation, and outsourcing. And the disappearance of better paying jobs is what leads to crime, when young people have no future.

The working class has a different interest. We are all exploited by the same bosses, wherever we were born. Our strength comes from our numbers, our unity, and our willingness to fight. We have an interest in forcing the bosses to accept that anyone here, anyone they are willing to exploit, has the same rights as everyone else. That’s the only way to stop the bosses from using immigrants against the rest of the working class, economically and politically.