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

Bi-Partisan Brutality toward Migrants

May 9, 2022

Since March of 2020, asylum-seekers have surrendered to U.S. agents at the Mexican border more than two million times, only to be immediately expelled without having the chance to apply for asylum. The right of asylum is supposedly guaranteed by U.S. law and by various treaties the U.S. government has signed, but the government has been using the excuse of the pandemic to invoke Title 42, a public health order, to refuse asylum applications and push migrants back to Mexico immediately.

These millions from Mexico itself, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East are fleeing violence, poverty, and outright starvation faced by people in much of the world. The U.N. reports there are more people forced out of their homes right now than at any time since the end of World War II.

Huge numbers of these people now wait in squalid, violent centers and camps in Mexican cities close to the U.S. border. “There aren’t basic necessities ... some of the conditions include kidnappings. They have included extortion by state and non-state actors. There has been anti-Black violence for migrants that are coming from Haiti or from many of the African countries…” reported Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee’s border program, in an interview on NPR.

For the few tens of thousands able to get an asylum application submitted, the Biden administration has made them wait for months in detention centers in the U.S. while their applications are processed. Human Rights First reported that these prisons are sites of “horrific abuse and mistreatment,” including sexual assault, solitary confinement, and family separation.

After maintaining Trump’s policies for more than two years, Biden finally decided to end Title 42 and allow migrants to apply for asylum, though a judge temporarily halted that plan. But even without Title 42, very few of those seeking it get asylum—the U.S. sets a limit of a few tens of thousands, and in 2021, only granted asylum to less than 9,000 people. And the Biden administration’s “six-point plan” to replace Title 42 will keep the basic brutality of immigration policies in place: building even more detention camps—what they call “soft-sided tent facilities”—and deporting people even more quickly.

Yet despite Biden essentially maintaining Trump’s policies, Republicans aren’t about to miss this chance to make a show of their own brutality. If Title 42 ends, Texas Governor Greg Abbott threatens to declare Texas under “invasion” and invoke wartime powers to send the Texas National Guard and State Police to the border—as if the 20,000 militarized Border Patrol agents aren’t already there! Other Republicans are threatening to impeach Biden or his Homeland Security Secretary.

In the end, underneath all the noise, both parties agree on the same basic immigration policy, rooted in brutality toward some of the world’s most desperate people.