Statement from Coral Wheeler
Originally published 8/7/2019
While we denounce the Trump administration and work to build the broadest unity to demand the closing of the camps, we have to see the bigger picture if we are to put an end to this scourge and actually obtain justice for the millions of migrants forced out of their communities in Mexico and Central America as a result of policies (U.S.-backed interventions, coups, and “free trade” agreements) imposed by the U.S. government.
The stepped-up attacks against immigrants actually began in 1996 under Democratic President Bill Clinton, and they intensified under Obama, the “Deporter-in-Chief.” (Obama, in fact, deported more than 3.2 million people, increasing the budget for “border enforcement” by 24%, or $18 billion).
When the Democratic Party leadership caved to Trump, voting on June 26, 2019, to support the Trump administration’s request for an additional $4.6 billion for “enhanced border security,” labor and immigrant rights activists across the country could not contain their anger.
Building politically independent labor-community coalitions that incorporate the fight for immigrant rights (Papers for All, Abolish ICE, Stop the Deportations, Tear Down the Wall of Shame) among their primary demands and mobilize around them is the place to start. The union leaders and activists who formed the Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) are promoting these coalitions as the building blocks of an independent party of labor and the communities of the oppressed.