In a heartbreaking, horrifying tragedy, over 50 immigrants were left to die of heat exposure in an 18-wheeler abandoned on an Interstate near San Antonio, Texas. With children among the dead, the first responders who encountered this scene will have to struggle mightily to overcome what they saw on this day. This is the deadliest such case in U.S. history, but far from an outlier, as there have been many such deaths, whether by ones and twos, or by the dozen.
President Biden claims that the tragedy “underscores the need to go after the multi-billion-dollar criminal smuggling industry preying on migrants …” These smugglers are undoubtedly predators. But who and what feeds this industry, if not centuries of U.S. politicians, Democrats and Republicans, just like Biden?
These smugglers could not prey on the desperation of people seeking a refuge from hunger and the fear of violence that has engulfed many parts of Central America if it were not for the policies of politicians like Biden. The blame for this horror lies at their feet at so many levels.
First: there is the horror of brutal global heating in Central America leading to the destruction of a way of life, with crop failure after crop failure. Biden and the Democratic Party have refused to deal with it seriously.
Second, there is the violence that ensues as a result of an economy ravaged by centuries of imperialist exploitation by the U.S. with or without the support of local political servants.
Then, there is the capitalist philosophy that the border must be controlled, like a water faucet, to serve the needs of the U.S. bosses’ labor market.
And, perhaps most cynically, there is the aim of feeding racist and xenophobic beliefs within the U.S. workforce to build divisions among workers by blaming the lack of workers’ opportunities for a decent life on those who come from elsewhere — an easy and false target — rather than placing the blame on the capitalists who profit from these divisions.
All of this is the fault of U.S. imperialism, and the politicians like Biden who pretend to solve it by so-called “cracking down” on the smugglers, will simply contribute to more deaths as the people aiming to cross the border will seek more and more desperate means.
We must defend the rights of all working people to cross borders, to choose to stay in their country or leave. This is a right that the rich of all countries can depend on for themselves. Working people deserve no less, and only our solidarity can strengthen us throughout the world in all our fights to win a better life.