We Are Not Illegal! End Deportations and the Criminalization of Migration!

Written by La Voz de los Trabajadores – Bay Area

We Must End All Deportations

Half a million people have taken to the streets this week to call for an Abolition of ICE. Two weeks ago, Trump created the massive crisis of separating children from their parents at the border and sending them to privately owned jails, while their parents are transferred to prisons around the country. 2300 children have been disappeared into these for-profit detention centers in the last two weeks, sparking outrage across the nation. In direct response to nationwide mass mobilizations (from shut-downs of traffic outside ICE offices to occupations inside them), Trump has signed an executive order to end the separation of refugee families, and instead, imprison them together, indefinitely. This maneuver is a direct result of the mass mobilization of hundreds-of-thousands of people in dozens of cities across the US protesting the practice of family separation. It comes at a time when Republicans and Trump are attempting to use the humanitarian crisis as a bargaining chip to pass anti-immigration legislation that will further militarize the border and expand ICE.

The Origins of Migration are US Capitalism

There is a reason why millions of people are willing to travel an extremely dangerous road on foot, in trucks, on the tops of trains, and across the desert to live and work in the United States from Central America and Mexico. People are fleeing the violence of gangs and the state, and above all, condemnation to poverty. These conditions are not random or because of some natural order: this misery has been directly created by US intervention into Latin American politics and economy over the last 5 decades. In every single country in Central America, the US has intervened with CIA-backed coups with the installation of right wing dictators, direct military occupation and training for pro-US forces, as well as economic dispossession through completely exploitative trade laws. This follows centuries of direct extraction of Latin America’s resources through colonialism by the US and Europe. Thus, If we want to address the injustice of migration, we must end the capitalist economic system that relies on this domination and inequality.

Ending the Criminalization of Migration

The initial success of these mass protests show us that we should no longer wait for the Democratic or Republican parties to protect our communities. Both parties have been responsible for the establishment and expansion of ICE, deportations, and private prisons in the last thirty years. Some progressive Democrats have taken a rogue stance by calling for the abolition of ICE, to be replaced with another, more “humane” agency that maintains control over the criminalization of immigration. But at the end of the day, these politicians are fully committed to continuing the criminalization of migration to maintain a source of cheap, marginalized labor in their capitalist system. As we’ve learned from the Labor Rights movement of the 1920s, the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s, and the Anti-War Movement of the 70s, the only way to make the changes we need in our society is through organized mass actions of that are independent of the two capitalist parties.
As socialists, we believe in a society where all people are free to live without the threat of imprisonment, and one in which all people have full equality, safe communities, and meaningful lives. Thus, we don’t believe it’s enough to simply abolish ICE and replace it with another police force. We demand the abolition of ICE as well as all police, the prison system, and other armed forces that repress and silence working class people. We demand full citizenship for all people, since we understand that citizenship is only used to strip human rights of non-citizens.
Keeping families together should not just mean putting families in prison together! If we want our children to grow up in a world safe from imprisonment, safe from ICE and police violence, with public education and healthcare, we must stop all deportations immediately. The only way to achieve this is to build a democratic, militant mass movement of working class people, so that we can defend our human rights through mass demonstrations, strikes, and other actions that stop the production of wealth for the capitalist class. Immigrants are a huge portion of the working class, and at a time when organized labor is making an upsurge, ending deportations and the criminalization of migration is an integral part of ending capitalism everywhere in the world.

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