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News :: Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare
State Governors Sharpen Attacks on Oppressed Immigrants
20 Aug 2005
On Friday August 12, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency in the counties bordering Mexico. On Monday, Janet Napolitano, the Democratic governor of Arizona, declared a similar emergency in her state. The California legislature is debating a similar declaration. Usually associated with disasters such as floods and earthquakes, these state of emergency declarations are being issued to get 3.25 million dollars in federal funds to increase the militarized policing of the US-Mexico border.
State Governors Sharpen Attacks on Oppressed Immigrants
Class Solidarity Needed
by Alex Gould

On Friday August 12, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency in the counties bordering Mexico. On Monday, Janet Napolitano, the Democratic governor of Arizona, declared a similar emergency in her state. The California legislature is debating a similar declaration. Richardson, a silver-spooned son of the Citibank empire who likes to show off his Spanish when courting the "latino vote", is a likely candidate for president in 2008. Napoletano is a liberal former state prosecutor who supports the racist death penalty.

Usually associated with disasters such as floods and earthquakes, these state of emergency declarations are being issued to get 3.25 million dollars in federal funds to increase the militarized policing of the US-Mexico border. There are already 11,000 federal border patrol agents employed by the Department of Homeland Security on the Mexican border. The armed border agents are supplied with helicopters and other military equipment such as night-vision aids and remote video sensors.

Kevin Krolicki reported for Reuters on August 18 that Richardson had also asked the Mexican government to bulldoze the Mexican border town of Las Chepas, because it is a departure point for many immigrants. What colossal arrogance!

The Border Patrol agents are joined by a growing military presence. US Army and Marines troops are on the ground and in the air menacing the migrant workers who cross the border daily. The current military deployment on the border began in 1981 as part of Reagan's "war on drugs", and was expanded by President Clinton to become a war on immigrant workers. All included, police and troops of at least 15 federal, state, and local agencies are involved in this border conflict.

The border mobilization targets migrant workers from Mexico and other Latin American countries who are fleeing poverty and wars for opportunities in the United States. The effect of this million dollar racist hunting expedition is deadly for the migrants who cross the desert regions of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The US border patrol reported 325 deaths of immigrants on the Mexico border in 2004, primarily by heat stroke, dehydration, and hypothermia. Migrants are also shot at with impunity by ranchers, and are now threatened by racist paramilitary gangs of "minutemen" and their imitators.

These deaths are entirely preventable and are caused by the criminalization and harassment of chican@ and latin@ workers. They put the lie to the governors' insinuations of criminality and aggression by the migrants. If these states of emergency were truely being declared in the interest of public safety, Richardson and Napolitano would use the funds to deploy medics, translators, and guides to help the immigrants cross safely, not more sherrif's deputies.

Attacking immigrants and encouraging racism for political advantage will not reduce unemployment or bring back industries that have relocated to US neocolonies in Latin America for lower wages. It won't stop the cutbacks to medicaid and social security, it won't lower gas prices or rents, and it won't make higher education and job training affordable. But it does produce a layer of super exploited workers in the United States who, lacking the legal protections of citizens and the solidarity of their white-skinned fellow workers, can be paid less, worked longer hours, and denied their union rights.

This division is the basis of the bosses' two-faced attitude toward latin@ immigrant workers. Industries such as agriculture, meat processing, construction and tourism would not survive a day without the labor of legal and undocumented immigrants. For this reason the border militarization and the new vigilante gangs are not aimed at stopping immigration. Immigration is inevitable when the capitalist market and technology spans the globe, creating intense inequality and misery in the less developed countries. The workers and farmhands of the US southwest are not beset by a latin@ immigrant crisis, they are threatened by a millionaire white man crisis called capitalism. Unity across racial and national lines is needed to overcome this crisis and its symptoms -- poverty, war, and disease. The racist demagoguery of Richardson and Napolitano is aimed at preventing this unity.
See also:
http://www.workers.org/
http://www.fightimperialismstandtogether.org/

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Re: State Governors Sharpen Attacks on Oppressed Immigrants
22 Aug 2005
you want to enter the country, you do it legally or you don't do it at all! This madcap marxian demagoguery is aimed at preventing this rationality. Why bother copyrighting this drivel - if anyone can break the law by crossing the border illegally at their own choosing, why bother respecting copyright laws either?