Filed under: Action, Analysis, Featured, Immigration, Repression, The State, US
On Wednesday, February 9th mass protests broke out that led to a freeway blockade in Los Angeles, California after a confirmed 160 people were arrested and detained via immigration sweeps carried out by ICE and against a backdrop of the Trump administration’s recent executive orders that give police greater powers to detain immigrants and deport them. Many people are also noting that the recent actions seem much more broad; targeting entire populations with raids and not simply just deporting people that filter through the massive criminal justice system. This seems to fall in line with what has been laid out in Trump’s draconian orders which call for the rounding up of entire populations, the marshalling of greater police forces, and the building up of detention infrastructure.
While decades of studies have shown that despite the fears produced by the far-Right, immigrants are not the cause of disproportionate amounts of violence – such fears do help to build support for widescale crackdowns and full on roundups, as well as the militarization of the police, expanded State powers, and an even greater repressive infrastructure.
As The Intercept writes, Trump’s plans are sweeping, and seek to deputize state and local police into immigration police, calls for the building of massive immigrant detention facilities, and also threatens to cut federal funding for any city that refuses to go along with the program. They write:
In order to address the massive strain those efforts would place on the nation’s already overburdened immigration system, Trump has called for the construction of new immigrant detention facilities along the U.S. border with Mexico — including through private contracts — as quickly as possible. Trump has also directed DHS to “allocate all legally available resources to immediately assign asylum officers to immigration detention facilities” for the purpose of conducting so-called credible fear hearings for asylum seekers. According to internal DHS communications obtained by The Intercept, this latter step is already underway.
Much of the ruling class with stake in the booming prison economy cheers these disgusting moves. We must remember that the stocks to private prisons were one of the first to skyrocket after news of Trump’s win, as did they when plans for SB-1070 were announced in Arizona over 7 years ago.
Many fear that such mass rounds-up could potentially grow to include millions of people. A recent analysis of the impact of such orders in LA alone concluded that upwards of 8 million people could potentially be targeted. As The Intercept wrote:
In the view of the administration, any “removable alien” who has broken a law or been suspected of breaking a law is fair game for deportation — regardless of whether that person was convicted or even charged with a crime. The order goes on to say that any person from that category who authorities believe “committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” can and should be targeted as well. Whether that person is a young student suspected of a traffic violation or a grandmother who’s lived in the country for decades is immaterial; both are on par with a violent criminal in Trump’s America and can expect to face the same consequence: removal from the country.
One non-profit worker in Think Progress described the nature of the current raids:
Advocates and lawyers said that ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations agents detained 134 immigrants at their workplaces and homes in a series of raids. They said that some people were picked up as “collateral arrest” after they opened their doors to agents who were not there to specifically arrest them. ICE agents allegedly requested to see identification from everyone and took in family members who were undocumented. (emphasis added)
The immigration sweeps are believed to have taken place across Southern California in Santa Paula, Oxnard, Van Nuys, San Bernardino, and Downey.
Trump’s mass deportation plans mirror many of the other things his administration is attempting to accomplish: completing massive resource extraction projects and creating a “new deal” for some aspects of the working-class that are willing to take jobs in private prisons, ‘building the wall,’ or working on pipelines. While the far-Right will cheer these endeavors, they of course will come at the expense of the brutal repression of millions of working-class people that will ultimately be used against all segments of the population if it decides to rise up against the State.
How viciously rounding up millions of immigrant workers whose low wages subsidise the low cost of basic food goods and who pump millions into both the economy and into taxes will somehow fix any economic problems immigrants are (wrongly) idiotically blamed for is besides the point. Such attacks on migrant workers are coming from a very ideological place within the Trump administration, as proto-fascists like Steve Bannon put literal white nationalists into actual positions within the government, and push against refugees, Muslims, and immigrants while building ties with far-Right and nationalist parties in Europe.
The only way to defeat these proposals is literally mass resistance and mass refusal. This means the physical shutting down of the ability of the police and State to function as such and carry out these orders.
Already, resistance is growing as protests and blockades of one ICE detention van took place in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday, as police detained and deported one person and arreated 7 others. Meanwhile, across the US protests and demonstrations are being carried out and organized. This is a good sign, however these demonstrations need to grow in size and become specifically targeted as they seek to disrupt the mechanism that could potentially carry out mass round-ups – not be reduced by liberals or the Democratic Party into symbolic opportunities to take pictures of signs and march in circles.
On Friday, protests have spread and continued to break out as more information has came out as to the size and scale of the raids. Get organized today, make plans, and take action!:
Protest growing quickly outside the New York HQ of ICE's Enforcement & Removal Office at 26 Federal Plaza pic.twitter.com/nTKIWV2IzB
— Spencer Woodman (@spencerwoodman) February 10, 2017
Crowd grew @ ICE protest in Austin! #ICEOuttaATX #FueraICE #HeretoStay pic.twitter.com/VYv3zLuQBN
— la mera mera novelera (@MarimarTX) February 11, 2017
#ICEraids protest at ICE HQ in NY. #deportICE https://t.co/MFYi9qjtUh pic.twitter.com/jZvjf26S9M
— YK Hong (@ykhong) February 11, 2017
RT JackSmithIV: Hundreds converge on U.S. Immigrations in NYC to protest ICE raids and Trump's anti-immigration po… pic.twitter.com/K9mH6F2mTF
— Truther Forever (@TrutherForever) February 11, 2017
HAPPENING NOW: immigrants & allies rallying in front of ICE to protest the attack on our communities #ni1mas #not1more that pic.twitter.com/b4x8rs7YG0
— New York Communities for Change (@nychange) February 10, 2017