Immigration time bomb is ticking

By Teresa Gutierrez
August 1, 2019

The foremost motivation of Donald Trump’s immigration policy is racist terror, blatant cruelty and the promotion of social divisions so ominous they can only be characterized as white supremacist.

Im/migrant workers have historically been victims of super exploitation. They have been used by the capitalists as cheap, exploitable and vulnerable labor. That is nothing new in the U.S.

But today, as capitalism is in its death throes, they are also used as pawns in the rush for power by Trump and the extreme right wing.

Fortunately, more and more people are rising up to resist these divisions and are defending migrants as never before.

These opposing stands are a ticking time bomb. What is reality today can disappear tomorrow. How much further Trump will go will depend on the people of this country.

In fact, this is a good time to reflect on the massive demonstrations against the war in Vietnam and the phenomenal mobilizations for the Civil Rights and Black and Brown liberation movements of the 1960s.  That period speaks to the long history in this country of everyday folks organizing to end wars abroad and demanding social change at home.

These movements had an impact. They made history. Indeed, they changed the political climate. They are a great example of the old adage that it does not matter who is in the White House or in the courts — what really matters is who and how many are in the streets.

It is also a good time to recall that it was in this country that May Day and International Working Women’s Day were born, out of the struggles of the mighty U.S. working class.

It is time to make this kind of history again, because the time bomb of the struggle between capitalism and a solution to this voracious system is also ticking away.

Trump digs in

On July 22, white, Black and Brown neighbors in Hermitage, Tenn., near Nashville, formed a human chain around their neighbor’s van to prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from taking a Latino father into custody. This is a wonderful sign of growing resistance and true solidarity.

This kind of action will need to be multiplied a million-fold as President Donald Trump digs in.

Facing reelection, Trump continues to appeal to his reactionary nativist base to whip up xenophobia and racism. Indeed, Trump has resorted to fascist-like tactics, including strong-arming Central American politicians to do what he demands — or else.

Not only has he attempted to sidestep international laws — such as the right to asylum — but he has demanded that ICE enforce tactics that ignore laws on migrant workers already on the books.

After three years in office, Trump’s immigration policies have resulted in conditions that the Guardian described on July 26 as: “Fear, confusion, despair: the everyday cruelty of a border immigration court.”

Even though fewer than 50 workers were picked up after Trump’s big announcement in June that massive raids would take place, the announcement itself served its purpose.

“Some clients will no longer leave their homes to attend counseling sessions or doctor’s appointments, or even to go to the grocery store,” wrote Leslie Peña-Sullivan, a New York-based therapist who works primarily with immigrants and refugees who’ve experienced trauma. (Vice, July 24)

The therapist concluded, “There is not a difference in the psychological effect of the threat of the raid and experiencing a raid in real life.”

The upside of the announcement, however, is that not only immigrant rights groups but also everyday people began to think of ways to stop this terror. “Know your rights” forums exploded across the country, especially in the 10 cities targeted by ICE in June.

In fact, after the solidarity chain in Hermitage, the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition held a forum in Nashville that attracted an unexpectedly large turnout.

TIRRC organizer Lisa Sherman-Nickolaus told the Nashville Tennessean July 27: “This really is a turning point for our community. It’s clear that Nashvillians want to learn more about what they can do and what our city can do to protect our neighbors, our family and our friends.”

We should keep in mind that this is not New York City or San Francisco where the movement for migrant rights tend to be stronger. This is in the South where racism and repression have the longest history. This is a big thumbs down to Trump and his instigation of fascistic racism.

But that extreme racist view is not just in the South.

The Texas Tribune reported July 26 that Donald Trump Jr. attended an event organized by the extreme right in Sunland Park, N.M. Also attending was ultra-reactionary Stephen Bannon.

The event, called the “Symposium at the Wall,” was organized by We Build the Wall, a grouping of white supremacists who raised millions through GoFundMe and built part of the wall on the same private land where the symposium took place.

Imagine if it was not white supremacists but white, Black and Brown people together raising a Tear Down the Wall campaign on GoFundMe. How quick the FBI would shut down that account!

Trump Jr. used the occasion to defend his father’s actions as well as “warn against the spread of socialism.”

Little does Trump Jr. realize that Trump Sr.’s actions are creating the very conditions that grow the fight for socialism.

But these emboldened fascistic elements will not crawl back under the rock they came from if Trump loses the 2020 election.

‘An opportunity to rock this system!’

The horrendous conditions for migrants being brought to light have exposed the core of the foundations of this country. On one side are the elite few who have built or benefited from capitalism, racism and colonialism, from anti-im/migrant exploitation since day one of this country.

On the other side are the millions of people who either go to work each day or go look for work each day.

This contradiction is irreconcilable. Trump’s immigration horrors are exposing the capitalist system like never before.  What an opportunity to rock this system to its core!

The Washington Post published an article July 24 headlined: “Migrants risk it all seeking asylum. The answer in court is almost always ‘no.’”

It is one of thousands of articles you read that you can end up crying about. But wipe those tears away.

The same article reported that on a mural in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, a worker had spray-painted in huge letters “Neither delinquents or illegals — we are international workers.”

We must get that message out far and wide. From Texas to Tennessee, from New Mexico to New York, from California to the Carolinas, everyone must realize we are part of the same international working class.

We are the only ones who can stop Trump and his ilk dead in their tracks.