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Immigrants: scapegoat for economic ills

Tribuno Del Pueblo  |  Issue: September | October 2017

Ten people are dead after dozens, including children, were locked by smugglers inside a sweltering tractor-trailer. The truck was found at a San Antonio, TX Walmart. This horrific event testifies to how desperate people are to find work to feed their families and the imminent danger they face in doing so. The smugglers have been arrested. But why is this human rights nightmare happening?

Why in Rio Bravo, TX is the former police chief claiming that the city manager told him to shoot the children of undocumented immigrants crossing the border to make it easier to send the parents back?

Why in Willard, OH is Jesús López, father of U.S. citizens, being deported after living here for 16 years? Never charged with a crime, he has a valid work permit and a job. “These are the darkest times I’ve ever seen when the brightest and best are taken from their homes and sent away,” said his attorney.

This is not about the Democrats or Republicans. It is about an immoral economic system that increasingly cannot provide jobs or a decent life for any worker, and then blames the immigrant for the system’s failure. Trump and the Republicans are playing to the fears of native-born workers in an economy where technology is replacing labor, but the Democrats have not been any better.

Claiming he was only targeting “criminals,” President Obama (dubbed the Deporter in Chief) expelled more undocumented immigrants, including women, and children, than any other president — until President Trump. Arrests have increased 38% as Trump scapegoats all the undocumented as “criminals.” Many of those arrested led stable, exemplary lives in this country for decades. They are detained in abysmal conditions, fed bad food and even forced to drink poisoned water. Some have died of illnesses while waiting for the courts to process their cases.

Undocumented workers toil under dangerous conditions, threatened by employers with the terror of ICE raids if they try to join unions or refuse to be treated as less than human. Dividing undocumented and native-born workers along color, religious and ethnic lines, our rulers create fear and hatred of the “other” while profiting from their common labor. In reality, these workers — immigrants all — have to work for their families’ survival, and increasingly the jobs are not there. Together we are at the mercy of an economic system that is turning to fascist terror to keep all workers in line.

Uniting around our common interests as a class, we can challenge a system of laws that lets a tiny class of millionaires and billionaires control who is legal, who eats, who gets healthcare or who gets housing. Opposing the attacks on our undocumented brothers and sisters is a necessary step in defense of the entire working class fighting for its survival and for a society that values every single life.

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