The Workers International League is an internationalist organization, which firmly believes in the unity of the working class regardless of national, racial, or cultural barriers. We denounce the hypocrisy of the American bourgeoisie which seeks to blame the social and economic crisis in the U.S. on undocumented immigrants, while at the same time sinking the whole of the developing world into misery through its foreign policy. It indiscriminately closes down perfectly good factories, lays off millions of workers, and shifts production from one country to another, always in search of the lowest possible wages and the highest possible profits, which in practice means conditions of semi-slavery for millions around the world.
The proposed anti-immigration law HR4437 – "The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act" - is a continuation of this vicious cycle of lies and misery. It is a reactionary battery of additions and amendments to existing immigration legislation which effectively declares open war on undocumented workers. In its 262 pages, it establishes a framework for completely marginalizing 11 million undocumented workers and their families. The key points of this law are the following:
* All undocumented workers will be considered common criminals, and all those who offer any kind of assistance to those workers, including trade unions, professors, activists, churches, social workers, and family members will be considered common criminals and may be incarcerated.
* Business owners will be forced to corroborate the Social Security numbers of all workers.
*A massive increase in police and military measures along the U.S-Mexico border, the construction of a mega-wall, and major funding for rapid response units, police dogs, satellite, and other technologies to tighten border control.
* Local and state police would be empowered to enforce immigration law: that is to say, local or state police could begin the deportation process from the moment a worker can't show documentation.
In their anti-immigrant hysteria, they have even proposed denying citizenship rights for those born in the U.S. whose parents happen to be undocumented workers!
These measures are so reactionary that some capitalists oppose them, happy as they are to have such a vast source of cheap labor with no rights. If this measure were passed, it would clearly complicate access to cheap, often semi-slave labor. This explains the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's opposition to HR4437 and their demand for a "rational" solution to the problem of immigration.
In order to develop a fighting program and methods to combat this and other anti-immigration laws, we must understand the roots of the immigration into the U.S.
The "problem" of immigration is none other than the bankruptcy of the capitalist system and its inability to provide the basis for prosperity around the globe. Quite the opposite: throughout the decades of the 1980s and 90s, capitalism loudly proclaimed that austerity measures, cuts in public spending, and flexibility in the labor market would allow the world's poorest nations to join the ranks of the rich. After 20 years of religiously applying these IMF policies, Latin America and much of the ex-colonial world in general is submerged in one of the worst social crises of its history.
As we've explained before, one of the factors that contributed to the post-war economic boom in Europe, the U.S., and Japan was the concentrated exploitation of the developing world through the unequal exchange of labor: massive quantities of labor-intensive raw materials were extracted in exchange for a relative handful of manufactured goods. The booming economy and rising standards of living in the "First World" were made possible only by impoverishing billions living in the "Third World". Even then, only certain layers of the population benefitted: to this day, millions of people in the advanced capitalist countries live in "Third World" conditions.
The profit system is simply unable to make use of the vast natural, technological, and human resources at its disposal. Instead, it leads us into the blind alley of unemployment, poverty, and misery around the world. In Latin America, the crisis of capitalism leads to a situation in which the poorest countries are those with the richest natural resources.
Faced with the constant destruction of the working class' conditions of life, it's no surprise that some of them decide to "try their luck" in a more prosperous country like the U.S. or Spain. Leaving their families, culture, and roots behind, millions of Latin American workers have made the dangerous trek across the U.S. border in search of a better future for their families.
Historically, the big corporations only speak of patriotism and nationalism when they are defending their own narrow interests: that is to say, private property of the means of production and the land. For the capitalist class and its ideological defenders, it all comes down to profits and the accumulation of capital. Far from raising the standard of living of the whole of society, they pursue only their own interests. They extract profits from working people until they are all used up - like a box of Kleenex – then set out to find fresh layers to exploit. For decades, the Latin American working class has served as a seemingly inexhaustible fountain of super-exploited labor, especially in the agricultural and service industries.
The bosses are more than happy to have immigrants working in the lowest-paid and most dangerous jobs: as long as it's on their terms. But now that the economy is slowing down, they have no use for many of these workers, and want to be able to kick them out at will. They also fear the spread of the growing Latin American revolution. Recently, Halliburton was handed a $385 million contract to build massive detention centers in order to stave off an "immigrant crisis". They want to use the fear of terrorism and the idea of "foreigners stealing our jobs" as a divisive battering ram against the working class as a whole.
But these latest attacks have awakened the resistance of broad layers of the immigrant community and their friends in the working class. The WIL stands shoulder to shoulder with all workers in our united fight against these reactionary laws. Only by relying on our own class forces and methods can we expose the true interests of the bosses and their government and end the capitalist system once and for all.