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

Attacking Immigrants as a Diversion

Apr 26, 2010

Arizona’s state government passed the ugliest immigration bill in the country on April 23.

The new law would make it a crime for any immigrant to not carry immigration papers on them at all times. It also would extend broad powers to law enforcement to stop anyone “suspected of being illegal” and demand to see those papers, arresting and detaining anyone who doesn’t have papers on them at that moment.

Who else would be “suspected of being illegal” in Arizona, but anyone who looks Mexican? This law is nothing but an open license for the state to harass, arrest, and deport any Mexican-American target.

And it’s not just Arizona, no matter how much officials may want to pretend that. Anti-immigrant incidents have been happening across the country. In Illinois, for example, in a suburb of Chicago with a large immigrant population, police have been knocking on doors–and if anyone opens the door, they arrest everyone in the home who can’t prove they’re in the country legally.

President Obama made a big show of disagreeing with the Arizona law, saying it threatens to “undermine basic notions of fairness.” But Obama’s own administration, through its Immigrations and Customs Enforcement department (ICE), has declared its intention to increase deportations to 400,000 a year. No year has ever seen 400,000 deportations; last year’s deportations reached 387,000, already a record number, including throughout the Bush years. How else could ICE plan to reach these extreme numbers, but by the exact same kinds of tactics just legalized in Arizona?

The U.S., and cities and states across the country, are targeting undocumented immigrants as scapegoats for the high unemployment in the country. They want to convince “legal” workers that “illegal” workers are taking their jobs. As if! It’s the employers, the corporations themselves, who take away jobs, laying off workers sometimes even as they increase production–having fewer workers do more work.

The bosses and the politicians are trying to get workers fighting against workers. And isn’t it convenient for them if they can get us to fall for his age-old trick–keeping us from focusing on the REAL cause of the desperate situation we’re in!