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’s “Humanitarian Parole":
Neither Generous nor Humane!

Aug 7, 2023

On January 5, 2023, the Biden-Harris administration announced new immigration measures through a program called “humanitarian parole.” This new process would give nearly 30,000 people a month the opportunity to enter legally and work in the United States for two years, if they are sponsored and meet the conditions imposed. Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are the four countries concerned. According to the most recent figures, by the end of June 2023, nearly 160,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans had arrived legally in the USA under these new immigration procedures.

Through this program, Joe Biden’s government seems to be posing as a benefactor. In Haiti, this program has been warmly welcomed and has triggered a veritable euphoria among the population, which is plagued by misery and gang dictatorship. One imagines that the situation is no different in the other countries concerned, which shared a common history of impoverishment by the United States, whose wealth has been built on the plundering of Latin America, including the four countries benefitting from this program.

It is very likely that many families in these four countries will be able to improve their living conditions thanks to this opportunity. However, many of the Haitian beneficiaries who have arrived in the U.S.A. complain that they are unable to find work, despite having their work permits.

Indeed, since the beginning of 2023, many American companies have been carrying out mass lay-offs. Such is the case of the CVS pharmacy chain, which will be laying off 5,000 employees as part of a cost-cutting policy, according to officials. Some have even closed their doors, like the 99-year- old Yellow Company, which halted operations on July 30, announcing the layoff of 30,000 workers, the majority of whom are immigrants, Haitians, Latinos, etc.

This program is being launched against a backdrop of rising unemployment. Therefore, it is worthwhile to ponder what is the motive behind these new migratory measures, when the number of immigrants awaiting regularization of their situation in the USA runs into the millions? We cannot forget the savage repression and mistreatment of Haitian migrants by American border guards on horseback at the Mexican-American border, which caused a huge media scandal in September 2021.

So why this about-turn? There are at least three explanations for this new approach to migration. None is based on generosity.

Firstly, the United States is under considerable migratory pressure, with thousands of people piling up at the border every day, or extending their stay on American soil beyond the validity of their visas. By dangling the hope of legal entry, which must be applied for by beneficiaries living in their own country, these new measures aim to encourage migrants to clear the border and discourage attempts at illegal immigration. According to human rights organizations, the number of migrants on the border has been considerably reduced following the implementation of this program.

With less than two years to go before the presidential elections, the leaders of the Democratic Party are playing the generosity card to win the sympathy of the fraction of the electorate of Haitian and Latino origin, whose weight is by no means negligible in the electoral balance in the USA, while the Republicans are adopting the nationalist stance of fierce guardians of the Star-Spangled Republic’s borders to win over voters who are hostile to immigration, or even racist. Indeed, border management between Mexico and the USA has always been a key issue in U.S. election campaigns.

Thus it hardly came as a surprise that on January 23, the Republican response fell like a thunderclap in a serene sky. Twenty states filed a lawsuit seeking the withdrawal of the measure announced by President Joe Biden, which, they argue, would violate current U.S. immigration laws. Suddenly, the stage was set for yet another battle between the Democratic and Republican parties, two sides of the same coin, cowardly exploiting the distress of desperate peoples for purely electoral ends.

This measure can also be explained by the timing of the next World Cup, to be held in North America (USA, Canada, Mexico) in less than 3 years. In Qatar, preparations for the event required the employment of 30,000 immigrant workers, 6,500 of whom lost their lives building the infrastructure. It is highly probable that the attraction of cheap labor is one of the motivations behind the U.S. government’s new migration measures. The two-year residency period and guaranteed work experience support this explanation.

While this humanitarian program offers many a way out to the famous “American dream,” it is clear that the majority of the poor in the recipient countries will not be so lucky. What is needed is the awareness that the salvation of us all will not come through individual escapes or humanitarian programs of this kind, but through the collective struggle of workers and the poor classes in general to expropriate the possessing classes on an international scale and put the planet’s immense wealth at the service of the collectivity.