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

Biden Declares War against Asylum Seekers

Apr 3, 2023

The Biden Administration ordered a new transit ban for asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S. starting on May 11. Under this new rule, migrants who pass through countries on their way to the U.S. first have to claim asylum in those countries.

If they do not fulfill this requirement, they will be ruled automatically ineligible to claim asylum in the U.S.

This policy practically and effectively prevents almost all migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. When the Trump Administration pursued a similar ban in 2019, they were denounced by the Democrats and immigrant advocacy organizations.

This ban marks little or no change of U.S. policy toward migrants seeking asylum. The Biden administration has been keeping out asylum seekers by implementing Title 42, started under the Trump administration. Under the pretense of protecting public health against the spread of COVID-19, the Biden and Trump administrations have deported more than 2.6 million migrants seeking asylum. Because this vile asylum denial tactic will legally end on May 11, Biden wants to replace Title 42 with another despicable tactic, the “transit ban,” to deny asylum.

The asylum seekers mainly come from Latin American countries, mostly from Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. (These countries account for more than 1.2 million refugees, 42% of asylum seekers in the world.) They seek asylum in the U.S. because in their countries they suffer from gang violence, government corruption, extortion, and some of the highest rates of poverty and violent crime in the world. The COVID-19 pandemic and hurricanes further devastated these countries.

In Honduras, which is riddled with gang violence, one gang member told a radio interviewer: “My job is to collect extortion. I’ve done this for four years. They have a fixed time to pay. If they delay too long, we kill the person. There are people who refuse to pay the extortion—they say, ‘Oh, we haven’t sold enough!’—but it’s obligatory. They have to pay, or else.”

This admission matches an asylum seeker’s fear: “I’m a farmer—corn, coffee, beans. But I can’t make enough to feed my family. We have droughts, and then we have floods. And there’s the lawlessness. Maras [gangs] extort the smallest businesses. We’re headed to Houston.”

These appalling social conditions have been created by U.S. imperialist domination of Latin American countries. The U.S. has intervened to maintain its corporate exploitation of these countries through economic sanctions, wars, and by installing puppet dictatorships.

As U.S. companies wring massive profits out of these countries, what is left behind are corrupt governments, gangs, and collapsed social structure. The asylum seekers are escaping these dire social conditions caused by the U.S.

The presidents, like Biden or Trump, come and go, but U.S. imperialism’s devastating policies remain.