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  No. 14, January 2018

Beware Trump/Democrat Deal

Defend DACA and
All Immigrants!

By CUNY Internationalist Clubs and the Revolutionary Internationalist Youth

CUNY Internationalist Clubs at September 5 NYC protest against Trump’s cancellation of DACA. (Internationalist photo)

We print below a leaflet distributed by the Revolutionary Internationalist Youth and CUNY Internationalist Clubs following the Trump administration’s cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September 2017. A week later, Democratic senators Chuck Schumer and Nanci Pelosi announced that they had made a “deal” with Trump, in which DACA recipients could stay in exchange for Democratic support for increased “border security” and immigration enforcement. We had warned that Trump would try to make precisely such a deal with the Democrats, using the roughly 800,000 immigrant youth registered under the program as bargaining chips. Some immigrant activists saw right through the “deal,” and threw it back in Pelosi’s face at an event September 18 promoting the DREAM Act, chanting “we are not a bargaining chip.”

As we go to press, the announced deal between the Republican president and top Democrats has fallen apart, with Trump threatening to veto any year-end spending bill that included provisions for allowing DACA recipients to get legal amnesty. Meanwhile, a bipartisan bill is being forged in the Senate that would reportedly allow DACA recipients to stay while greatly increasing “internal” immigration enforcement (i.e. even more arrests) and a beefed-up border. Some are calling for a so-called clean DREAM Act that would not include additional security or enforcement provisions, or a military service path to citizenship. Yet the fact is that Democrats and Republicans are united in their support for immigration enforcement – they only disagree on how best to do it.

Since Trump took office, I.C.E. arrests in courthouses have gone up by 900% in New York State alone, and Department of Homeland Security “internal” (as in, not at the border) immigration arrests have gone up 42%. In addition, the Supreme Court has allowed Trump’s “travel ban 3.0” to go into effect while legal challenges to different versions of the ban move through the courts. The latest ban bars travel from six majority-Muslim countries as well as Venezuela and North Korea. In order to fight against this anti-immigrant onslaught, the working class must mobilize its social power to stop I.C.E. in its tracks by flooding the streets to prevent immigration arrests, while at the same time demanding full citizenship rights for all immigrants­.

7 SEPTEMBER 2017 – On Tuesday, September 5, Donald Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, leaving an estimated 800,000 young undocumented immigrants in a state of purgatory. Many could face deportation as early as next March. In response, a wave of protests swept New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and other cities. The CUNY Internationalist Clubs joined protests at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, a City University of New York campus with one of the largest populations of DACA applicants on the East Coast. We marched to join protesters at Foley Square, raising the call to defend DACA and ALL immigrants, and for mass worker/immigrant action to defeat the racist onslaught.

Trump’s neo-Confederate, immigrant-bashing attorney general Jeff Sessions presented the vicious attack on DACA as a means to uphold “the constitutional order.” Just days earlier, Trump pardoned that vile poster boy of bigotry, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, who made a career out of breaking the government’s own laws in order to torture immigrants and others caught in his racist dragnet. As revolutionary Marxists, we point out that in this country founded on slavery, conquest and genocide, the capitalist rulers’ “legality” is, and has always been, a screen for the most ruthless and violent suppression of the workers and oppressed. As we’ve chanted at protests against racist police terror and deportations: Only revolution will bring justice!

The DACA program enabled hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth, many of them college students, to get a temporary suspension of deportation which made them eligible for work permits. However, this required that they “out” both themselves and their parents by giving information to the Department of Homeland Security about their addresses, cell phone numbers, and when and how they entered the country. Now this information, handed over in good faith to the government on the Obama administration’s assurance that it would not be given to the Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) police or Border Patrol, may be used against them. Immigrant youth who grasped at this opportunity are holding their breath in fear of deportations.

Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants
Mass Worker/Immigrant Action to Stop Deportations!

On Tuesday, Democratic Party politicians denounced the Trump/Sessions attack on DACA. On Wednesday, they were all smiles as Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi joined Trump in announcing their deal on government spending. With the help of many leaders in the “Dreamer” milieu, the Democrats have cultivated illusions that they are the friends of immigrants. Trump, who has ruled by executive order from the moment he set foot in the White House, has thrown the ball into Congress’s court. But as bipartisan U.S. imperialism threatens war against North Korea and increases military forces in Afghanistan, Trump may use the 800,000 DACA youth as bargaining chips with the Democrats.

As revolutionary opponents of both capitalist parties, we warn that the Democrats may do a deal with Trump, who fakes concern over “Dreamers,” to “save” aspects of DACA at the expense of the millions of supposedly “less talented and deserving” immigrants. The deal being floated would include some watered-down version of the federal DREAM Act in exchange for “increased enforcement” (ICE raids and further militarizing the border) and intensifying the E-Verify program used to fire undocumented workers. That bill, which hasn’t made it through  Congress in 16 years, would provide legal status to some undocumented youth while excluding  most young workers, and would be used to enlist cannon fodder for the U.S. military.1 The Democrats would try to get immigrant youth to accept such a deal and throw their own parents, families and friends under the bus. We say, Hell no! We demand full citizenship rights for all immigrants!

Democrats paved the way for Trump with mass deportations. Protest at Borough of Manhattan Community College, September 5.  (Internationalist photo)

What is the real record of the Democrats? Former deporter-in-chief Barack Obama set record numbers for deportations, over 5.5 million plus 2.7 million “voluntary departures.” His DACA program did not provide citizenship rights, nor even a path to citizenship, permanent residence or “amnesty.” He openly pitted immigrant kids against their parents, stating: “We should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents.” His secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, organized a coup in Honduras – then, as she revved up her presidential campaign, called for deporting the mothers and children who had fled violence in Central America. Today groups like “Political Revolution” are calling some of the protests about DACA. Yet Bernie Sanders – who claims to be leading a “political revolution” (for the Democrats) – has railed against immigrant workers, calling to “strengthen border enforcement” and prevent “employers from hiring illegal workers and [giving] legal status to foreign workers.”

We cannot rely on the capitalist politicians – it is urgently necessary to bring out the power of the working class, immigrants, African Americans and student youth in mass mobilizations to stop the deportations. To unchain this power, it is necessary to break from the Democrats and all capitalist politicians. We call for building a revolutionary workers party to lead a socialist revolution, to put an end once and for all to this system of exploitation, racism and war.

ICE Out of NYC, Now!

The danger of a deal heightening “border enforcement” is highlighted by the way such “enforcement” is used for terrorizing immigrant families, particularly in states like Arizona and Texas. In Phoenix, Arizona earlier this year, immigrant rights activists flooded the streets, blocking the ICE van holding Guadalupe García de Rayos, who had been in the U.S. for two decades since her parents brought her here from Mexico at the age of 14.

In New York, Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo repeatedly sacrificed the state DREAM Act in budget negotiations. “Progressive” NYC Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio, who is campaigning for reelection, has continued the “broken windows” police strategy of his Republican predecessors Giuliani and Bloomberg. This year de Blasio threatened to add even more to the 170 “deportable offenses” for NYPD/ICE collaboration. Over 100,000 people are arrested a year under broken windows and NYPD notifies ICE on court appearances. Meanwhile, there are secret, unmarked immigration jails in NYC and other cities. We demand: ICE jails out now! At CUNY, the Internationalist Clubs have called for and taken the initiative in forming committees to defend immigrants and Muslims against the xenophobic onslaught.

The fact is that the bourgeoisie needs immigrant labor, without which major sections of the U.S. economy would collapse. According to the Department of Labor’s 2016 statistics, immigrant workers comprise about 17% of the overall U.S. labor force. At the same time, the capitalists need an enemy within, a population to blame for the crippling economic crisis while the government pours trillions into bailing out Wall Street and funding the Pentagon’s imperialist war machine.

In contrast, the working class is international: ¡La lucha obrera no tiene fronteras! (The workers struggle has no borders.) The politics of revolutionary internationalism were summed up by Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto’s motto: “Workers of All Countries, Unite!” The first workers government, the Paris Commune of 1871, granted citizenship to all immigrants. So did the Bolshevik Party of V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky when the workers of Russia took power 100 years ago in the 1917 October Revolution. Today, the CUNY Internationalist Clubs and the Revolutionary Internationalist Youth, youth section of the Internationalist Group, carry forward that tradition, that struggle and that program. The fight to defend immigrant rights is inseparable from the class struggle of all the exploited and oppressed. It can only be decisively won through our common victory in the fight for a socialist future. Join us!

  1. 1. See CUNY Internationalists’ leaflet, “The DREAM Act Swindle” (in Revolution No. 8, April 2011). The 2017 version of the DREAM Act continues to include the military provision. In contrast, the New York State DREAM Act does not include this provision, and is critically supportable.