The Spark

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

Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Card and the Interests of the Capitalist Class

Jun 29, 2020

On June 18, the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could not end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA gives temporary legal status to some undocumented immigrants brought here as young children. Immediately, Trump promised to renew his attack on these young people.

And just four days later, Trump claimed he was protecting “American” jobs by extending a freeze on some programs that issue work visas, especially to highly-skilled immigrants. Immediately, companies like Amazon and Apple objected, and it is unclear if this order will actually stand or for how long—though if it does, there will surely be lots of loopholes.

Trump is playing the same card he has always played, doubling down on his anti-immigrant bluster as he gears up his re-election campaign. To feed his anti-immigrant base, Trump’s brutality has been overt and on display since he launched his initial campaign.

But in fact, under Trump, like every president before him, the capitalist class has gotten the immigration policy it needs. Despite his threats, Trump has not carried out mass deportations of immigrant workers, and with fewer people overall arriving from Mexico, he has actually carried out fewer deportations than Obama did in his first term.

As unemployment rises and causes an increasing social problem, however, immigration policy could change sharply. The U.S. has carried out mass deportations before, especially when the demand for workers dried up. When the Great Depression hit, the U.S. deported more than a million people to Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of them were U.S. citizens.

Trump’s anti-immigrant propaganda has laid the political groundwork to justify another mass deportation if it should again be in the interests of the ruling class to do so—no matter who is the next president.

The capitalists have an interest in creating divisions, and in bringing in or expelling workers based on who they can exploit. But the working class has a different interest: to refuse to be divided, worker from worker.

There’s plenty of work to be done, and more than enough wealth to give every one a decent wage. We protect ourselves when we protect each other.