The U.S.-Mexico border is once again in the spotlight. Over the recent period, right-wing politicians have escalated a political campaign, particularly on the Texas border. Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently formed what he called the Texas Tactical Border Force to stop refugees from coming into the U.S. This is after his forces strung deadly razor wire along the Rio Grande.
Not surprisingly, as we approach election season, this political posturing on the border has escalated. Abbott, has now declared the situation at the border a “foreign invasion”, claiming Texas has to act in self-defense. Joining in this grandstanding, 25 governors have pledged to stand with Abbott. They have encouraged the “Take Our Border Back” truck and car convoy of anti-migrant activists to join with them.
Recently the Democrats put forward one of the most anti-immigrant border bills. This would make it easier for the Border Patrol to effectively shut down the border, refuse entry to people, and make it harder to gain asylum. Republicans lined up against it, not because they disagree with the policies, but because they don’t want to give the Democrats any possible political win in an election year.
Beyond the political games, what is really going on here? It is estimated that around three million people crossed the southern border in 2023. Globally, there are an estimated 110 million forcibly displaced people. Why are millions of people risking their lives to leave their homes to come to the U.S. or Europe?
These people are victims of a system that knows no borders – capital flows anywhere that it can make a profit from the exploitation of cheap labor or land. It has destroyed traditional agriculture, replacing small farms with massive plantations growing crops for export. In Guatemala, countless numbers of people have been pushed from their lands where they could grow food to eat and to sell. Their farms have been transformed into large plantations growing cash crops such as palm oil for export. As a result, people cannot grow food, nor afford to buy imported food.
The system of world capitalist production is also disrupting the climate, drying out once fertile areas into regions where people can’t grow crops. Farmers throughout Central America have experienced many droughts over the past decade, causing entire communities to lose their livelihoods. Imposing economic sanctions on Venezuela has led to a domestic economic crisis, with skyrocketing malnutrition. In these conditions, how could people not leave to survive? This is not immigration – it is forced migration!
The capitalists in the U.S. and in the rich countries of Europe, use a divide-and-conquer strategy to turn the workers of their countries against these desperate migrants, to keep us all at their mercy. They tell us that migrants “take our jobs.” But studies have found that this isn’t true. Migrants usually work the lowest-paid jobs. The capitalists say that migrants “drain government resources.” Not true! Migrants contribute trillions of dollars to the economy and tens of billions of dollars to yearly taxes and are less likely, for example, to use emergency rooms.
Both Democrats and Republicans offer no real solutions to the problems that we face – inflation, low wages, unemployment, collapsing social services and more. They just offer scapegoats. They try to outdo each other by attacking the most vulnerable victims of this system. These politicians want us to see the people forced from their homes as the problem, when it is the system they defend that is responsible.
They want us to see migrants as a threat. We can’t afford to fall for their lies, and turn against workers who are in an even worse situation than we are. We need to see our common interests, and use our collective power together, to organize our forces to fight the real enemy!
Our struggles should have no borders!