Too Little, Too Late: We Are Not Political Pawns!

242_cartoon_border_fence_hurwitt_largeOn the 104th Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution President Barack Obama announced two executive actions to provide relief to nearly five million undocumented immigrants for three years. The first would grant deferred action to parents of American citizens or permanent residents who have been in the country for five years and youth who were brought into the country illegally as of 2010. While this relief is much needed and would provide relief from deportations and a relative security from job discrimination for millions it still would leave four million people unprotected and at risk for deportation, something the Obama administration is quite well at with an average rate of 400,000 people deported every year by the administration. And it seems this could even climb at a higher rate as the President has also promised to increase border security, adding to already one of the most militarized borders in the world; nearly surpassing the Demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.

We however are not absolutists; we firmly believe something is better than nothing, we also are relieved to know that the administration’s Secure Communities Program which transforms local law enforcement into essentially border agents will be overhauled, however our fear is that it will be replaced with something else that targets our communities. We cannot forget that the President and his Democratic Party allies are just now finally acting on promises that he has made in both of his Presidential campaigns, meanwhile millions have been deported and are in the process of being deported. Everyday that has passed since the President took office more and more families were and are being separated, mothers and fathers never returned from work and children put into foster care or with relatives. This is a great travesty and will not be easily forgiven!

As we have stated earlier this year, the connections between illegal immigration and American capitalist-imperialism are intimately linked. Prior to NAFTA the undocumented population stood at 3.9 million people in 1993, with the influx of subsidized corn from the United States that flooded the Mexican market came the displacement of millions of Mexican farmers which had a ripple effect throughout the region that caused the price of Mexican corn to drop 70% between 1994 and 2001 which not only affected farmers but the small business owners who sold their product. This neoliberal policy also affected Central American farmers who depended on temporary agricultural work in Southern Mexico for employment. For example according to Victor Suarez, the executive director of the National Association of Rural Producers: “In Chiapas, there was hardly any migration before NAFTA, Farm laborers were even brought in from Guatemala. Now, more than 50,000 rural people from Chiapas go each year to the United States.” No amount of relief can stem the mass exodus of people in Mexico and Central America fleeing economic and drug related terrorism without halting U.S. policies in the region, and this will not topple on it’s own it must be pushed or else it will not fall, especially as there are a relatively small number of people benefitting from this at the expense of million all the more reason to.

The opportunists in the Latino community, particularly in the Mexican community, seek to support the President unconditionally ignoring the fact that is was the popular mobilization of immigrant youth, the DREAMer youth which brought us to this point nearly ten years ago with their struggles to make the DREAM Act a reality. The politicians from both these parties are forced to acknowledge and concede to this growing power and in some cases seeking to co-opt their fighting spirit and tame it into the form of mainstream politics which serve the interests of the ruling classes and capitalism. Amongst immigrant rights activists we even see contending lines that under continued struggle will naturally lead to two camps in this movement: one revolutionary and another liberal-progressive. Those who seek to limit the immigrants rights movement to DREAMer students, a significant minority within a community that has an extraordinarily high highscool drop out rate, and one that includes working class youth, day laborers and others who have no access to higher education. Between those that seek to limit political activism with liberal reforms to those who are pushing for revolutionary change. We consider ourselves in the latter camp, and must not lose sight of the continuing struggle, there is still plenty of work to be done to not only provide relief to all eleven million undocumented immigrants but harness their struggles and transform them into revolutionary demands that link up with the struggles of other oppressed peoples in the Empire such as the struggles of African-Americans and other peoples of color also suffering from state violence, similarly immigrant rights activists must also tie the struggles taking place in their countries of origin to end the neoliberal policies in place that contribute to the current crisis, only in a United Front with an internationalist focus can this be overcome. We will continue to do our part in trying to bridge these struggles through not only struggling against state violence against our communities but to take up the arduous challenge of abolishing the existing social conditions which are the root of the problem with mass incarceration of immigrants and other oppressed peoples. It is the task of the youth to lead the future!


-Progressive Youth Organization


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