Cruel Barrier on the Rio Grande is Nothing New

Migrants travel long and difficult journeys in their desperate search for refuge from lives that have become impossible due to the current state of crisis in the world. They then face even more cruelty when they arrive at the Rio Grande.

The descriptions of the Mexico/Texas border sound like a war zone. The banks on the U.S. side have been bulldozed, and troops and vehicles stationed. Most notable is a thousand-foot-long line of buoys, edged with spikes, nets, and razor wire. Why would migrant desperation warrant this response?

Meanwhile, Texan border operations have responded to migrant desperation with monstrous violence by pushing children back under the water and refusing to supply fresh water to parched and thirsty migrants despite the extreme heat experienced this summer.

People who are migrating take risks when faced with rivers and deserts to cross, as well as razor-and-spike-decorated barriers to get around, because the conditions that they are fleeing are horrible as well. These responses to migrant desperation are cruel and inhumane, but not unusual. Immigration policies and border patrol responses have gotten worse over the years, including during Obama’s and Biden’s Democratic presidencies. While the Trump-era Title 42 allowed U.S. authorities to swiftly expel migrants, Biden has continued to deport people who cross borders illegally. In addition, over a thousand migrant children and families remain separated at the border under Biden’s rule.

It’s clear that neither Republican nor Democratic politicians are concerned with the human lives and dignity that are being taken at the border. Over 1,500 migrants have been kidnapped, raped, or otherwise abused at the U.S.-Mexican border. The politicians obviously aren’t going to fix this. Working people all over the world face the same class enemies who exploit and oppress us. Whatever the variety in our cultures, it’s obvious that exploitation knows no borders. The bosses use national borders to separate working people from each other and foster divisions among us. We must rely on ourselves and each other to stand up, speak out, and fight back against this cruel system. That includes fighting to open the borders!