immigrant rights

More than 100,000 people took to the streets on June 30, in about 750 cities and towns in every state across the country, to protest the separation of immigrant children from their parents seeking asylum and denounce President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy that made this cruel practice possible, writes Barry Sheppard from San Francisco.

Washington has a long history of using deportations to strike fear among undocumented workers. In recent years, deportations have multiplied — previous president Barack Obama became known as “Deporter in Chief”.

But President Donald Trump has greatly stepped up the drive, mainly against Latinos without papers. He has unleashed Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) to carry out indiscriminate raids where Latinos congregate, deporting the undocumented. These include those without criminal records or who are guilty of only minor offensives, often separating families.

After a journey of more than a month, more than 150 members of Viacrucis Migrante — known as the Central American Migrant Caravan — arrived at the United States border on April 29. They were met with a hostile response.

Migrants and refugees staying in a refuge in Mexico City have been subjected to verbal and physical attacks recently.

In his now infamous statement on immigration last month, Trump expressed his views clearly: He doesn’t want immigrants from “shithole” countries in Africa, Haiti and El Salvador — Black and Latina — to be let into the US.

On the other hand, he wants to encourage immigrants from predominantly white nations like Norway.

At the press conference to announce his run for president last year, Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as “drug dealers, criminals, rapists” who must be stopped by “building a wall”.

Since taking office, Trump has continued to reiterate that message through policy initiatives designed to further degrade the quality of life for undocumented workers and their families. The overtly racist targeting of migrant and immigrant people by Trump has excited the far-right, and emboldened their efforts to organise, mobilise on a national scale, and terrorise working class communities of colour. 

But Trump and a re-energised far right did not appear in a vacuum.

Despite the clear signals that President Donald Trump would drop the axe on a program that protects unauthorised immigrant young adults from deportation, the announcement by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions provoked an immediate and passionate backlash from the 800,000 young immigrants who benefited from the program, as well as their supporters.

At the closing of the World Peoples' Conference on June 21 in Tiquipaya, Bolivia, social movements called for a “world without walls,” while Bolivian President Evo Morales urged social movements to adopt the progressive proposals of the gathering's final declaration, which dubbed the migration crisis as just one symptom of neoliberal globalisation. 

Mexico’s Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) has announced it will begin selling organic coffee from Chiapas to help migrants persecuted by US President Donald Trump.

Working alongside allied international distributors, the EZLN will use coffee sale funds to provide financial assistance to US deportees in Mexico. They will also use funds to support pro-immigrant resistance groups around the world protesting anti-immigrant governments.

Bolivia’s government and social movements have announced they will host a global people’s summit on migrants and refugee rights. The "People’s Conference for a World without Walls and Universal Citizenship", set for June 20 and 21, is expected to draw together immigration experts and pro-migrant and refugee rights organisations and activists from around the world.

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