With the killing of the DREAM Act, states are now moving to implement similar laws to those in Arizona, signifying a reactionary swing to the right which threatens the lives and livelihoods of many Hispanic, Latino and Amerindian workers. Immigrant Fingerprinting
One particular measure designed to specifically target immigrant workers for repression is the ICE fingerprinting program which Colorado Governor Bill Ritter is expected to sign into law. The measure would have the immigration status of workers entered into a database containing other personal information which can be used to hasten their deportation from the country.
It is odd that the some of the same people who criticized heightened security measures at airports as being invasive have constructed a system wherein someone being caught jay walking could conceivably be deported if their name showed up on a database. The Assault on the 14th Amendment
In addition to growing support for police harassment of workers on the basis of appearance in the United States, there is also a growing push to attack the 14th amendment, which would do away with citizenship as a birth-right to those born in the country. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican member of the Pennsylvania house of representatives, says that allowing the children of undocumented workers to become citizens of the United States is a “misapplication” of the 14th amendment and is spearheading an effort rally reactionary legislators from 40 states for the purpose of “ending the illegal alien invasion and ending the incentives that attract illegal aliens onto our soil.”
The blatant and honest xenophobia and racism behind such an endeavor is obvious. Without the protections of the 14th amendment, there is no real barrier for reactionaries to deport anyone who was born in the country and did not go through a lengthy process of being naturalized as a citizen. By pigeonholing citizenship by birth, it isn’t entirely unimaginable that more earnest reactionaries would push to have large sectors (if not the entirety) of their immigrant communities deported, with the implications of such a forced exodus being felt among the Latino and Hispanic communities at large and others based on their class background and ethnicity.
The U.S. Are Not the Only Ones Deporting “Undesirables”
This increased repression and potential for deportation of entire communities of immigrant workers in the United States comes at the same time as France’s virtual ethnic cleansing of the Roma communities within its borders. French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign to dismantle 300 Roma communities and deport their inhabitants carries on unabated despite mass resistance and diplomatic uproar. French government figures state that 11,000-15,000 Roma have been expelled from France since late 2009.
Sarkozy responded to criticism by stigmatizing an entire minority:
“A statement from the president’s office said the camps were ‘sources of illegal trafficking, of profoundly shocking living standards, of exploitation of children for begging, of prostitution and crime’” (1).
In fact, most of those deported have no criminal record. In a memo leaked last September, it was revealed the French government has specifically targeted Roma for expulsion, an illegal measure harkening back to the days of France’s collaborationist Vichy government.
“’Three hundred camps or illegal settlements must be evacuated within three months; Roma camps are a priority,’ the memo reads. ‘It is down to the préfect [state representative] in each department to begin a systematic dismantling of the illegal camps, particularly those of the Roma’” (2).
The same memo says that the policy was demanded by Sarkozy personally.
When one considers this trend in the context of capitalist decay internationally, it is becoming clear that in their desperation, the bourgeoisie is doing everything it can to build up reaction and to create scapegoats out of the most vulnerable sections of the proletariat. This tactic, while a classic one, cannot conceal the fact that their scheming has brought the world to the brink of collapse yet again. Immigrant Rights Groups and Legislators Respond
In contrast to these reactionary measures, immigrant rights groups, legislators and activists have denounced this xenophobic tide and have countered with attempts at reform via pathways to citizenship and other measures which counter calls for a mass expulsion of workers similar to the expulsion of the Roma in France. Civil rights groups have decried these Draconian measures and considerable pressure has been placed on politicians to create pathways to citizenship. While such reforms are not a solution to a problem created by capitalism and its need for racial chauvinism and easily exploited pools of immigrant labor, they do signify an increase in workers awareness to the problem and increasing dissatisfaction with the system as it stands. The Battle Ahead
As reactionaries continue to advocate an increase in the assault on immigrants, it is essential that workers of all ethnicities and backgrounds stand against this wave of repression against the well-being of all workers.