The Spark

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

Federal Government and Arizona Both Attack Immigrants

Aug 2, 2010

A federal judge blocked parts of an Arizona state law, which authorizes local cops to go after undocumented immigrants. The judge said the law interfered with the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration law.

In other words, according to this judge, it’s OK to raid Hispanic neighborhoods and round up workers, tear them apart from their families and deport them. This judge just says that states can’t do it – unless the federal government allows them to do it.

And that’s exactly what the federal government has been doing. Since 1995, under a federal program known as 287(g), the federal government has already been using the same state and local police forces against immigrants.

The attacks on immigrants have only increased since Obama took office last year. The Obama administration has vastly expanded the prison system for the detention of immigrants – from 14 to 437 jails! And it has been deporting more immigrants than the Bush administration did. This year the government expects to deport a record 400,000 people – “the maximum number the courts can handle,” as the director of ICE, the federal immigration agency, bragged.

Under Obama in 2009, ICE audited 1,444 workplaces for immigrants – nearly three times more than under Bush in 2008. And ICE has doubled the audits this year. These hypocrites dare to claim this is a more “humane” way to catch and deport immigrant workers. As if it makes a difference whether you lose your livelihood and your family in a raid or in an audit!

Either way, the government is criminalizing immigrants. Look at ICE director Morton’s own words. He said half of the people already deported this year had a “criminal” conviction – and what “crime”? Morton mentioned “driving without a license” – which, of course, undocumented immigrants are forced to do, unless they commit another “crime” – obtaining fake papers. And as for the other half of those deported, it was the first time they were caught without papers. In other words, their “crime” is trying to make a living, by taking a low-paying job, as most immigrants do!

By criminalizing immigrant workers and viciously attacking them, these politicians – both state and federal, both Republican and Democrat – are trying to deflect workers’ anger from the real enemy – the bosses. If jobs are hard to come by these days, it’s because the bosses are cutting them. The bosses say it themselves, openly.

It’s the same, age-old tactic of the bosses, to turn “native” workers against “foreign” workers – in order to enslave both. And the bosses’ politicians play their part in this dirty game. Some of them, like the Democrats and Obama, may pose as a “friend of immigrants” to get their support during elections. But they are as deadly an enemy to immigrants – and all workers – as the Republicans are.