Trump’s anti-immigrant and racist rants have been the centerpiece of his campaign rallies, tweets and press conferences. He portrays immigrants from Mexico and countries to the south as rapists, criminals and gang members. He says these immigrants are an invasion, coming to attack us, to take our jobs and to take advantage of government assistance. He claims they threaten the American way of life. He has proudly supported tearing young children from the arms of their parents and caging them in detention camps.
Recently there were two violent attacks on innocent people that reflected the kind of poisonous ideas that Trump has popularized. After posting a racist manifesto online, a white gunman went to the Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, California on July 28. He opened fire on the crowd, killing one adult and two children and wounding dozens more. On August 3, just days later, in El Paso Texas, another white gunman walked into a Walmart, shooting at those in the store. He killed 22 people, including children and wounded 23 others. Before the shootings he had stated his hatred of Mexican people. These shootings add to the feeling that no place is safe and if you are Latinx you can be attacked, even if you are a child.
While he rants against immigrants coming here, Trump has hired undocumented workers in his resorts and hotels. Like other bosses, he uses their fear of being deported to pay them lower wages, with no benefits and makes them afraid to demand better conditions.
Recently ICE raided seven poultry factories in Mississippi where 680 people were arrested and accused of working without legal documents. Soon after, 300 of those arrested were released. Those workers were recruited to work in the plant, often in the place of African-American workers. Some of the workers in these factories had organized, demanding better conditions. Was this a cause of the ICE raid?
So why are so many people willing to come here when they know the attacks they may face? Most have no choice. They are fleeing for their lives. For many farmers it is impossible to survive. The disruption of the climate in many countries has destroyed their crops for the past several years. There are no jobs for them in the cities. Others are fleeing the violence of the drug cartels and gangs or the violence of the police and military, which maintain brutal dictatorships in their countries.
Those who rule the U.S. have created this crisis. U.S. corporations and banks have long viewed Central America as a place to exploit resources and labor. Elected governments that didn’t protect U.S. corporate interests have been overthrown, and replaced by dictatorships backed by the U.S. military. The result has been widespread poverty and misery for the majority of the people in Central America.
This is not new. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have proposed and passed anti-immigrant laws, funded more border police, and built walls on the border for years. The Democrats have criticized Trump’s proposed border wall expansion and the treatment of immigrants in U.S. detention centers. But recently, the majority of Democrats voted to pass a budget bill that includes the money to build more of Trump’s border wall.
The bosses and politicians play one group of workers against another, to try to stop workers from organizing and fighting for better wages and conditions. They play on our fears and insecurities and try to turn our anger against other workers. They act as if the poor and desperate people of Mexico and Central America are a threat to us. But who profits from the exploitation and oppression of workers in Central America and Mexico? The same bosses who benefit and profit from the exploitation of U.S. workers.
All workers deserve a decent life. The 1% who benefit from and maintain this system is the enemy of all of us. Shame on us if we fall for their lies.