Just as you don’t have to be Palestinian to understand the brutality of Israeli policy in Gaza and the West Bank, or gay to feel the horror the cleansing in Chechnya, so you don’t have to be a parent to be outraged at what is happening on the US border. But it helps. In the past week the second of my daughters left home, albeit temporarily. She is 19 and going to live with family overseas, and still I cried. So it’s unfathomable to me, totally and utterly incalculable, the human suffering these parents torn from their children – some just babies - must be enduring. As a mum their pain is my pain. And that of tens of thousands of others, judging by the protests and solidarity actions which forced Trump to ‘retreat’. That much we can celebrate, that compassion and humanity has a voice that can make itself heard. But…. Yes Donald Trump has reversed this inhumane policy. He did so by signing an executive order – even though he earlier claimed this was not possible. But however the policy was reversed, it was only through strong pressure, from fellow politicians and the American people, that he was forced to back down. However, as Richard Wolffe ominously put it in The Guardian, this is not the end of the story. “Just like the botched Muslim travel ban, we know that Trump’s worst instincts don’t simply disappear. They metastasize into other forms of immigrant persecution and racial politics.” What’s more, there are still some 2300 children who will remain separated from their parents under Trumps zero-tolerance policy.
The executive order to everyone who crosses the border illegally will continue to be prosecuted, but they’ll try to find or build facilities that can hold parents and children together, instead of separating them while their legal cases are before the courts. But where will they be detained? In what sort of conditions? For how long? And once the political pressure is off, will the remaining separated children just languish in detention? The racism of the Trump administration can’t be allowed to thrive. Trump’s linking of all non-documented immigrants with violent gangs is ugly, cheap, and dangerous. Gangs which, by the way, are themselves the product of racism towards refugees fleeing violence in El Salvador; youth who tried to make the US their home but were greeted chiefly with hostility and marginalisation. The White House is using the oldest trick in the book, using sensationalism and lies to make certain peoples and ethnicities appear alien and dangerous. In an off-script outburst, Trump said “We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — we’re stopping a lot of them ...you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.” Calling these people ‘animals’ gives fuel to the racist vigilantes, far right groups and even the authorities themselves. It gives them licence to commit further murders like that of Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, 19, from Guatemala who was shot and killed by Border Patrol in May while crossing into the U.S. We must keep up the protests, we must continue to counter the lies that undocumented immigrants are a threat to national security. And we must oppose loudly and clearly the separation of children from their families. We’ve called for the closing of the Israeli Embassy because of the country’s treatment of Palestinians. It’s a long shot… but how about we close the US Embassy too. Why should we dignify the Embassy of a Fascist administration with the right to representation on our soil. This demonizing of immigrants is not just immoral; as socialists we stand opposed to all such tactics to blame one group of workers for the problems created by the system
Solidarity with all immigrants.