Trump’s administration has made attacks on immigrants central to his presidency. Whether it is the increase in Homeland Security funding, more ICE raids, detentions and deportations or the threat to build a billion dollar border wall with Mexico or the prevention of immigrants from six Muslim countries from entering the US – blaming immigrants is a major political focus of Trump’s policies. But we need to remember that the Obama administration laid the groundwork for Trump by deporting more immigrants than any other president. The only difference between the two administrations is that the Obama administration was a little more selective about who they deported and didn’t boast about attacking people who were forced from their homes and came here to try to make a life for themselves.
How hypocritical of Trump to say that people who came here without legal sanction don’t have a right to be here. The U.S. bosses have always hired workers without papers to work in their factories, farms and other workplaces and to take care of their families. They exploit these workers at the lowest possible wage and under the worst conditions.
Big companies have moved their factories to other countries where they could pay lower wages, prevent unionization and treat workers like slaves. These are the same bosses who rely on the US government to install bloody dictatorships and cause civil wars to defend their right to steal natural resources and dominate other economies. Also, many farmers were pushed from their lands when agribusiness dumped their cheap subsidized produce on the market, selling at prices below the cost of production. It is these conditions that have driven workers to seek refuge in the US.
This is a country of recent immigrants, with the exception of Native Americans. But throughout US history, the 1% has used a divide and conquer strategy to turn poor farmers and workers against each other, attempting to prevent us from making a unified fight against our real enemy – the bosses and bankers. The most continuous divide and conquer strategy is racism. Immigrants from Europe were told that Native Americans stood in the way of them owning their own little farms. This led to a genocidal slaughter of the people who were living here. White workers have been told that they were better off and have a privilege to defend against African Americans. The result of this strategy has been the violent and degrading treatment of Black people and other minorities. It has served to help the bosses drive down wages and impose worse working conditions on everyone.
We cannot believe Trump’s lies that immigrants are taking our jobs or are responsible for more crime than those who are born here. This is said to frighten us and to get those of us who have a legal status to go along with or ignore the attacks on those without documentation.
While Trump’s outrageous behavior distracts us, the politicians are preparing to cut the taxes of the rich and the corporations, remove controls over the banks and corporations, reopen pipelines, cut social programs and privatize schools.
The Trump administration has made it very clear – there are two sides. The bosses are on one side, and the rest of us whether documented or undocumented, of all genders, and ethnicities, are on the other. The attack on immigrant workers is an attack on all poor and working people. We need to make it clear that An injury to one is an injury to all. We must stand with and defend immigrant workers against the rich who exploit us all.