In the United States, immigration has become increasingly criminalized.
It is not surprising. People tend to look for scapegoats as they become more
insecure about their own economic livelihood and remain badly informed. The
government takes advantage of the fears of the public and warns against dangers
such as damage to the economy, increases in crime, abuse of public aid programs,
the spreading of diseases, drug trafficking, and gang and/or terrorist activity.
Then with the use of the media, they paint a racist, distorted picture of immigrants
coming from poor countries with the goal of stealing jobs, and taking advantage
of public services and higher wage levels.
Contrary to what the U.S. government would like the public to believe, most
immigrants add more to the U.S. economy than they take out. In fact the average
immigrant contributes $1,800 more in taxes annually than he or she receives
in benefits and services provided by the U.S. government. But U.S. policymakers
hide this information and take advantage of the fears of the public, by attempting
to pass racist bills such as HR 4437.
This particular bill would permit the government to prosecute almost anyone
who has regular contact with an undocumented person by broadening the definition
of “alien smuggling” to include family members, employers, and immigrant
advocates. This bill only serves to increase the super-exploitation of undocumented
immigrants by driving them further underground.
However, the restriction of immigration to this country cannot really meet
any of its alleged objectives. Most people do not want to leave their homes
and migrate, but feel they have no other options because of the economic repression
caused in their countries by the profit-hungry greed of foreign corporations.
In the end, it is the international economic policies promoted by capitalism
that inevitably lead to increased immigration, that imposes crim inal penalties
on workers in order to decrease wages by taking advantage of undocumented workers
who cannot risk demanding higher wages or protesting abusive or illegal working
The only solution to the continued abuses of workers is working-class unity!
For it is not just the same suffering along with the same needs such as food,
water, housing, education, and medical care that we share. We also have a common
enemy: Capitalism! But we must remember “The people united will never
be defeated!” For this is more than just a chant, more than just a fuzzy
sentiment of unity. It is a battle cry meant to remind us that we must fight
as one mighty fist for the rights of all workers and oppressed peoples, in order
to be victorious against imperialism once and for all.
The writer is an organizer of the FIST-Fight Imperialism, Stand Together-youth
group in San Diego.