Apr 1, 2019
Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are fleeing for their lives, trying to gain entry into the U.S. Most are from Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where there is some of the highest levels of violence in the world.
Most of these migrants believe that by taking the legal route, they will get a hearing. They cross the border. They wait for the Border Patrol to pick them up. They ask for asylum. This is their right, according to U.S. law.
But it makes no difference. The Border Patrol still treats them like criminals.
In El Paso, Texas, one of the busiest ports of entry, the Border Patrol crowds hundreds of migrant families at a time into an outdoor parking lot under a busy freeway bridge. For many days, they await processing. Rows of families, including small children and babies, lie directly on the concrete floor with nothing but thin blankets of insulated plastic to protect them from the wind and cold. They are surrounded by armed guards, barbed wire and razor wire.
These are the people President Trump regularly attacks. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, President Trump recently called migrants’ efforts to gain entry into the U.S. “a big fat con job.” Trump calls Central America a “shit hole.”
In reality, Central America is a hell hole for the great mass of workers and poor. That is what the U.S. government and the U.S. capitalist class have turned it into. Historically, big U.S. businesses, such as banks, growers, mining companies and manufacturers, gained great wealth by plundering and bleeding the people and the land. U.S.-sponsored dictators and private armies reigned supreme. When workers and peasants revolted, the U.S. military and CIA destroyed the land, massacred entire villages, made life intolerable.
Today, there are few jobs. Gangs, backed by the police and military, rule through terror and fear. “They should try to change it instead of running away,” some in this country say about the migrants. But anyone who opposes the gangs or police, anyone who criticizes or tries to change things, risks death, not just for themselves, but their family and loved ones.
So, they flee. They travel thousands of miles, often on foot. They brave the natural elements, the mountains, rivers and deserts, hunger and thirst. They brave human predators, including in the U.S.: the gangs and police, who rob, enslave, torture, rape, and murder migrants.
Workers in this country should welcome them as a part of our class. These migrants have courage and determination. These are qualities that strengthen our fights here in this country.
Today, Trump is doing what politicians have always done. He is using the crises created by the capitalist class, in order to divide workers against each other. Unemployment, low wages, crime, homelessness: those are caused by the capitalist drive for profit.
The main dividing line is not between workers from different countries or regions. The main dividing line is between the tiny minority of exploiters and the exploited. It is between those who enrich themselves off of the sweat and labor of the great mass of workers and those of us who do all the work.
Historically, the working class has been built out of great migrations of people, just like the ones of today. Those migrations enriched the working class. Workers learned from each other. They broadened workers’ experience and outlook. And they strengthened workers’ struggles.
It’s not up to Trump what happens. It’s up to us, including all the migrants. We are one class. The more we are united, the stronger we are in the face of the capitalist exploiters.