Oppose Trump’s attacks on immigrants! Defend the migrant caravan!

By Niles Niemuth
25 October 2018

As the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for Congress in Michigan’s 12th district, I denounce President Donald Trump’s racist and fascistic attack on immigrants. I call on workers in the United States to unite with their brother and sisters in Mexico and Central America to ensure the safe passage of the caravan of migrants currently making their way north towards the US-Mexico border.

I call on workers to take a stand against Trump’s xenophobic campaign to whip up anti-immigrant sentiments and divide the working class! This requires a fight to unify all workers on the basis of their common class interests, in opposition to the policies of the ruling class, represented by both Democrats and Republicans.

What began as a group of several hundred immigrants traveling together for safety as they fled San Pedro de Sula, Honduras, the city with the highest murder rate in the world, has quickly grown into a transcontinental protest for equality and democratic rights.

Responding to threats by Trump to deploy the US military to gun down migrants at the border and to attacks by the Mexican and Guatemalan police, the group has taken up the chant: “Migrants are not criminals, we are international workers!”

The march’s numbers have swelled to several thousand despite hundreds being detained as they made their way into Mexico. Residents along the march’s route have lent their support by bringing clothes, food and water and offering rides to the men, women and children desperately seeking a decent life.

The Honduran, Guatemalan, El Salvadoran and Nicaraguan workers who set off Wednesday from southern Mexico to begin the two-week trek by foot to the US border are fleeing gang violence and economic conditions in their home countries that are the outcome of decades of interventions by American imperialism, supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed a coup in Honduras in 2009 which ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, destabilizing a region that was already the poorest and most exploited in the Americas. Approximately 70 percent of Hondurans live in poverty, with nearly half subsisting in extreme poverty.

The Democrats have all but dropped immigration as an issue in the midterm elections. They bear as much responsibility as Trump and the Republicans for the assault on immigrants. Obama, the “deporter-in-chief,” oversaw the removal of more than three million workers from the US, more than all other presidents combined. Obama erected the concentration camps that are now being used by Trump to detain thousands of children in the Texas desert.

While some Democrats call for bipartisan “comprehensive immigration reform,” including my opponent Representative Debbie Dingell, the measures they propose would do nothing to stop the detention and deportation of thousands of workers across the country. All these proposals are based on a further militarization of the border and onerous restrictions and requirements for immigrants.

The Democrats seek to give a cosmetic makeover to America’s brutal immigration system. Their only objection to Trump is that his attacks on immigrants are too crude and blatant, contributing to widespread public outrage.

Senator Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist, is working to give a left face to the Democratic Party, but when it comes to immigration his differences with Trump are only tactical. Sanders’ rejection of open borders, a basic principle of socialism, as a right-wing “Koch Brothers” proposal, betrays the true character of his politics.

Workers will not be able to achieve socialism, a society in which the economy is organized to meet human need and not private profit, without internationalism. The working class is an international class exploited by global corporations. Workers in the United States have the same interests as workers in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and every other country in the world.

As the only genuine socialist running for office in the midterms I call for:

* Safe passage and legal entry for all caravan participants into the United States

* Abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the dismantling of the militarized border region

* Immediate liberation of all immigrants detained in the United States

* The provision of jobs, homes, health care and educational opportunities to the caravan participants and all immigrants

* A multi-trillion-dollar program to rebuild Central America, to be paid for by expropriating the wealth of American billionaires

* The right of all workers to safely travel across the world without fear of harassment