Over the past New Year’s weekend, 121 adults and children were apprehended by federal immigration authorities as part of a nationwide operation conducted by the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. This national campaign being carried out by the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a large-scale effort to deport families fleeing violence in Central America in places like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Over 100,000 families have crossed the border in the past year as refugees seeking asylum, leaving their homelands because of the terrible conditions caused by the US Empire. Historically, US imperialism and its allies have destroyed industries, super-exploited production, and set up puppet dictators and drug cartels in Central America to serve the needs of the ruling and comprador class.
The ongoing raids are part of a larger discussion in the 2016 Presidential campaigns to tighten border security, where GOP top-runner candidate Donald Trump promises to deport all undocumented immigrants and ban entry to the US for Muslim refugees. Trump’s rhetoric aids the rise of a fascist movement in the US that upholds white supremacy. Many Republicans deride the Democrats for their “soft” policies of border control. However, the Democrats ultimately serve the ruling class (those who own the banks, the media, the corporations, the prisons) that work with the government of the US Empire, a country that flourishes on the exploitation of the working class and oppressed nationalities that built it.
Elected officials who claim to be “progressive” have also turned a blind eye, not even coming out publicly against the raids and hence supporting the ongoing violence against our communities we face from ICE and NYPD. President Obama, who oversaw the largest amount of deportations, issued a policy of “felons not families” (excluding queer and trans families), where raids and deportations were focused on undocumented immigrants who were convicted criminals. However, the majority of these convictions are from trivial crimes such as drug possession, petty theft, and carrying fake IDs. These are also faults committed years or decades ago, where the convicted went to court or jail and the case was closed.
It is clear that the state is committing genocide on the people when people are being raped and killed by the police or at the border. ICE, armed as police officers or detectives without any identification or court order, will turn any interaction with the court system into a possible deportation. They will often perform their operations during the early hours when families are most vulnerable. In many instances, ICE agents have made families sign false documents that are actually a voluntary deportation, arresting them within minutes and as family members watch in horror.
US immigrant enforcement care little for the immigrants, as capitalism illegalizes their existence in order to keep them working low wages. Detainees being held in poor conditions inside US detention centers are on hunger strike demanding their immediate release. Gang violence soars and homicide rates reach their highest in decades in Central America, and many of the young mothers and children deported would be returned to places they fled to escape being killed, raped, or tortured. These raids and deportations are efforts to set an example to the community to deter future immigration and allow the people to submit and be super exploited without fighting back and organizing. This is why a revolutionary movement that fights for the people’s interests and builds for power is necessary, because empty hashtags, protests, and theatrics only build a culture of resistance and not organizing for resistance.
As the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, we understand the people know that the state is at war with us. Historically, the students and communities of working class and oppressed nationalities actively fought to seize control of the City University of New York to serve their interests. Today, CUNY allows the oppression of immigrants for its corporate investments in companies like the GeoGroup and Corrections Corporations of America. These two companies are the biggest builders of private detention centers in the country, using government contracts where they charge for the amount of beds they fill. Under the Appropriations Act of 2015, the Department of Homeland Security is obliged to “maintain no less than 34,000 detention beds”. The same way our people in native countries are subordinate to US imperialism, internally the police and ICE repress us in our homes, jobs, prisons and detention centers.
As students we should be aware that way our schools serve as institutions that ideologically legitimize the capitalist system that oppresses us. When building for political power, we must wage an ideological struggle in CUNY to benefit the interests of the people. When we base build in the communities, we want to be able to provide legal support but also political education for their liberation.
We must build long-term organizations of workers and tenants lead by the people and communities. We demand all detention centers to be closed down, an end to deportations, and to stop the collaboration between CUNY and the NYPD, ROTC and ICE. We must unite to struggle and fight to win.
ICE out of our communities!
Shut down all detention centers!
Fist Up! Fight back!