As the Socialist Equality Party candidates in the California midterm election, we unequivocally condemn Democratic Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to deploy 400 national guard troops to the Mexican border. We warn: Brown’s move emboldens Trump and his fascist aides and puts the livelihoods of the state’s millions of immigrants at risk.
The deployment proves the Democratic Party is collaborating with Trump’s attack on immigrants. Brown’s statement announcing the deployment presents the move as benign: the National Guard will “support operations targeting transnational criminal gangs,” and “will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people,” Brown claims.
This is a lie. As Trump admitted, the entire premise of the National Guard’s mission is to provide logistics, surveillance and support to free up Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers who carry out the daily brutalization of immigrants in communities across California and the country. Trump first demanded this military deployment in a series of xenophobic tweets specifically targeting a symbolic march of refugees from Central America seeking asylum. Brown’s participation in Trump’s deployment legitimizes this racist attack and demonstrates the fraud of the state’s “sanctuary” legislation, which does nothing to actually protect immigrants.
Thursday morning, Trump tweeted, “California Governor Jerry Brown is doing the right thing and sending the National Guard to the Border. Thank you Jerry, good move for the safety of our Country!”
The National Guard deployment comes in the face of an unprecedented threat to immigrants nationwide. Last week, Trump announced that the administration will indefinitely detain immigrants captured crossing the border. The memo announcing the policy change calls for the Attorney General and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to “allocate all legally available resources to construct, operate, control, or modify—or establish contracts to construct, operate, control, or modify—facilities to detain aliens for violations of immigration law at or near the borders of the United States.”
While supporting Trump’s attack on immigrants, the Democrats are focusing all of their political energy on opposing Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and affairs with porn star Stormy Daniels. The anti-Russia campaign has brought the US to the brink of war with Russia, a nuclear armed power, in Syria. If a war does break out, the government will launch an anti-immigrant dragnet that exceeds in size and scope the internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans during the Second World War.
The anti-immigrant record of the Democratic Party
In 2018, Bernie Sanders, heralded as the “left wing” of the Democratic Party, said: “If the president wants to work with us to make sure we have strong border security, let’s do that.” This March, Democrats voted for a budget that gave $641 million to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and $1.6 billion for the militarization of the border. They abandoned the 1.8 million people eligible for the now-expired Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In 2010, Obama launched Operation Phalanx, sending guardsmen to the border for six years. Over his two terms, Obama deported 2.7 million immigrants, the most in US history, with the support of the Democratic and Republican Parties. Brown’s statement praises both Bush and Obama’s earlier deployments.
In 2006 California’s current senator Dianne Feinstein voted for building a border wall with Mexico. She was joined by then Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who claimed that President Bush’s measure did not go far enough. Bush deployed guardsmen to the border with California’s support for two years.
The bipartisan support for border fencing and military patrols has driven immigrants to cross along ever more dangerous routes. The government does not keep any accurate count of how many die in the humanitarian crisis along the border. It is anywhere between the official count of 360 to 1,300 every year. In some counties, officials simply throw bodies found into shallow graves without keeping records.
Today, more refugees are fleeing their homes worldwide than at any other time since the end of World War II. According to the UN, there were 65 million refugees in 2015. Many are fleeing US-led wars and instability in the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The exodus of refugees from Central America is a direct result of US support for military dictatorships and death squads dating back more than a century. As recently as 2009, the US government under President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported a coup d’état against the democratically-elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya.
No to chauvinism and racial divisions!
Socialists oppose efforts by both parties try to convince workers that they are suffering because of low wages for immigrants and foreigners. The financial oligarchy scapegoats immigrants for the social crisis to detract attention from the fact that the United States is the most unequal society on earth, where the richest three billionaires own as much wealth as the poorest 160 million, half of the country.
Immigrants are not to blame for deteriorating bridges, cuts to social programs, the rising cost of healthcare, stagnant wages, state surveillance, police brutality, mass shootings, or permanent war. It is the capitalist system, based on the exploitation of the working class and the constant drive to divide and redivide the world’s resources and cheap labor between the imperialist powers, that is responsible for these symptoms of the social crisis.
Mobilize the working class in defense of immigrants!
The Socialist Equality Party demands full, immediate citizenship rights for every immigrant regardless of when they came to the United States and regardless of their country of origin. We call for the right to return to their countries of origin without the threat of deportation.
The defense of the rights of immigrants must be based on the mobilization of the working class, regardless of immigration status. No worker stands to benefit when his or her co-worker can be dragged off the assembly line, construction site, school room, or warehouse floor by police and immigration agents. The terror tactics being employed against immigrants will be employed against workers of all immigration backgrounds who enter into struggle in defense of wages, benefits, and democratic rights.
It is in the interest of every worker, regardless of immigration status, to demand the abolition of ICE and CBP and to call for their massive resources to be spent to rebuild working-class neighborhoods in the US as well as countries damaged by US imperialism in the Americas and elsewhere.
The world economy and its inhabitants have never been more interconnected. Under capitalism, the nation-state system is the framework for war, ruthless economic competition, and deportation. Our campaign fights for socialist revolution which will abolish the nation-state system in order to bring the geopolitical organization of the world into harmony with the international character of the world economy.
We call for workers and young people across California to help us advance this program by joining our campaigns—David Moore for U.S. Senator and Kevin Mitchell for House of Representatives for the 51st Congressional District.