The Spark

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

Crisis at the Border

Jan 7, 2019

Trump insists he needs billions of dollars of budget money to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He tweeted: “Need to stop Drugs, Human Trafficking, Gang Members, & Criminals from coming into our Country.”

This is a pack of lies. Drugs? The whole opioid crisis was created and pushed by big companies based right here in the U.S. Most drugs that come over the border do so hidden in vehicles – which a wall won’t stop. Gangs and crime? One study after another, including by conservative groups like the Cato Institute, show that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in this country.

There is a crisis at the border, but it’s not the one Trump talks about. A seven-year-old migrant girl and an eight-year-old boy died in U.S. custody in December. This should be no surprise since the U.S. is holding thousands of children in filthy conditions with little medical care. According to a report in the Arizona Republic, children in Border Patrol holding facilities “would vomit on their clothing” and had no soap to clean up. A child with diarrhea and a fever was left in a cell, with no medical care. According to the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, these facilities are “cold, the lights are on 24/7, there are open toilets, and as a child, if you’re not sick, you can get sick.”

Others seeking refuge in the U.S. are stuck in filthy conditions in Mexico after having traveled thousands of miles from Central America. When they try to approach the border to apply for asylum, whole families are sprayed with tear gas.

These migrants are willing to face danger and brutality because conditions in their home countries have become unlivable: the direct result of U.S. policies. Violence and poverty in Central America have been the products of U.S. domination of that region for more than 100 years.

The Democrats are posturing against Trump’s wall proposal. But in fact, most of the wall that actually exists was built under Clinton and expanded under the Obama administration. The Democrats say they are against a concrete wall – but they are for “smart” border security, including drones, airplanes, and more border patrol agents. In fact, a 2017 Homeland Security report found that the border is more “secure” than it has ever been – largely as a result of policies enacted by Obama.

What does this mean? It means increasing numbers of migrants are dying in the desert when they attempt to cross. And under Obama, more immigrants were deported than under any other president – more than 2.5 million.

But while the two parties basically agree on policy, Trump is accelerating anti-immigrant, racist rhetoric. Trump, and those behind him, want workers to believe that we can protect ourselves from the problems U.S. imperialism creates throughout the world by closing ourselves off. He says we just need a big enough wall.

But immigrants are not the real danger. That danger is the bosses. They have stolen jobs, by making each worker do more and more work. They have attacked our wages, and stolen the money needed for schools and services.

The bosses use immigration to have a workforce they can pay less – which allows them to lower everyone’s wages. Both parties have implemented policies that are aimed at forcing immigrants to accept the worst working conditions – which makes conditions worse for all workers. Whichever party was in power, the capitalist class has always set immigration policy to meet its needs – at the expense of both immigrants and workers born here.

No wall will keep us safe from the crises the bosses create for workers here and in other countries. Those workers are our class allies. The bosses who create and profit from all our problems are our enemies – and they are right here, in this country.