Tag Archives: ICE raids


During the first week of January the Obama administration put into practice its promise to round up recent immigrants from Central America for deportation. ICE has arrested almost 500 immigrants, all subject to deportation, mostly in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and California, but also in New Jersey, New York and other states.

Members of the immigrant’s rights organization we PLP members are in, as well as the wider community, are understandably alarmed and afraid. The organization has begun workshops informing immigrants of their legal “rights” if they are confronted by ICE. There’s also talk of finding sanctuary in churches for immigrants at risk of deportation. We in PLP are supporting these measures. But the organization is downplaying this surge in deportations as “normal” ICE activity. They are relying on good lawyers to represent immigrants in deportation hearings and trying to get “local” laws passed to protect immigrants within particular cities. While PLP is never opposed to good lawyers, these approaches are at best illusory and at worst part of liberal policy to pacify the working class and allow racist divisions to grow.

So what does communist leadership within the mass organizations mean now? Communists are against panic; we aim to strengthen the working class. We must do a number of things:

  • Develop workers’ understanding of how imperialist rivalry and constant war is related to attacks on immigrants world-wide,
  • Relate deportations to the surge in racism in the US beginning with daily police killings of black workers and youth to anti-Muslim attacks to anti-immigrant attacks,
  • Expose how the capitalist ruling class and their media seize on “fear of terrorism” to blame immigrants and Syrian refugees for the entry of terrorists into the US and Europe while obscuring the criminal, racist and fascist nature of cpaitalism,
  • Denounce how capitalist governments from Europe to the US. are closing borders, leaving refugees from war, starvation and misery to die.

Workers ask us communists in PLP about what will happen in the future. We tell them that we can’t predict the future. Our answers depend on communist understanding of how capitalism works and our confidence in the international working class. Workers will continue to find ways to cross borders and will continue to be a source of cheap labor in the US. The US government will continue to welcome technology experts, scientists, researchers and others who can help US imperialism to project its power in the world and remain on top. It is likely that there will be a guest worker program to allow in immigrants for limited periods of time to work in agriculture, food packing and other industries, but without any of the so-called labor rights that workers in the US currently have. The focus will be on programs that will guarantee rights for youth who join the military as ground troops in imperialist wars.

In our mass organizations, we have strongly called for demands that can put the working class on the offensive: no deportations, immediate acceptance of hundreds of thousands of Syrian war refugees, open all borders for workers and amnesty now for all immigrants in the US, no restrictions. We want fightback that will include all workers, immigrant and citizen, black, Latin, Asian, white, same enemy, same fight. We will never accept any form of racism as “usual or normal.”

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Fascist Anti-Immigrant Raids Attack All Workers

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

POSTVILLE, IOWA, May 29 — The above statement by anti-Nazi Pastor Martin Niemöller is clearly related to the U.S.-Homeland Security Agency’s immigration police (ICE) attack on undocumented immigrants. The Des Moines Register reported (5/12): “Months in planning, Monday’s raid involved 16 local, state and federal agencies, led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).” The largest single workplace raid in U.S. history saw 389 workers — mostly from Guatemala and Mexico — arrested in minutes at the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant. They were herded onto buses and interned at the National Cattle Congress Fairgrounds, some 80 miles away in Waterloo. There they were kept in a makeshift camp, behind a chain-link fence, watched by armed immigration officers for three days until processed and sent to jails state-wide.

Nearly 300 have pleaded guilty to reduced charges of document fraud and will serve short prison sentences before being deported, while others await immediate deportation or have been placed on temporary release for compassionate reasons.

The appearance of dozens of buses, helicopters and heavily-armed ICE, state and local cops resembled a scene from a Nazi-era film. And the aim is the same: to terrorize workers.

Rosa, a 40-year-old mother of two, was working on the kill floor that morning when she heard the cries of “la migra” — a warning about ICE cops — ringing through the plant and saw her friends drop their tools and run. She slipped into a freezer and hid among the dead chickens, sitting alone in the cold for several minutes, thinking that everything was over. She would be caught, sent back to Mexico with nothing. The better life she had planned for her children was not to be.

The plant, which produces kosher and non-kosher products, was already a hell for workers, paid less than Iowa’s $7.25-an-hour minimum. The ICE investigation revealed abuses like a supervisor covering a worker’s eyes with duct tape and beating him with a meat hook.

But that wasn’t the main aim of the raid. The company has not been charged with anything, even though accused for years with many health violations. Not much has changed since Upton Sinclair wrote his novel “The Jungle,” exposing horrendous conditions in the meatpacking industry in Chicago and across the Midwest.

The aim of the raid, and many others occurring nation-wide, is not really to arrest those “guilty” of “identity theft.” Its real aim is to terrorize undocumented workers, and all workers, into working for less and less, thereby reaping increasing super-profits for a capitalist system desperate to pay for its wars and economic crisis.

The lie spread by the bosses’ media — and by many of their lapdogs among the union “leaders” — that immigrants are “stealing jobs” from citizen workers is exposed by the fact that, according to a report in the NY Times (5/31), Iowa bosses can’t get enough workers. The state has the second lowest unemployment rate in the country, 50% less than the national rate. Iowa employers are desperately seeking employees. Why? “Companies want to be in Iowa because wages are lower than elsewhere in the nation or region,” says the Times. While the bosses in general approve the idea of terrorizing workers into accepting lower wages, there’s a section that doesn’t want the fascist attackers to go “too far,” to scare off workers from filling these low-wage jobs and limiting their profits.

This fascist attack occurs alongside the growing imprisonment of undocumented workers (see page 2 on the growing U.S. prison population). El Nuevo Herald (Miami Herald Spanish edition), reports (5/28 ) that the jail in Del Verde, Texas, is filled with arrested undocumented immigrants, even though this hasn’t stopped the flow of these immigrants. This and other jails throughout the Southwest are big money-makers for private prison companies that run many of them. The border is also militarized as U.S. and Mexican rulers put their Plan Mexico into operation, under the guise of “fighting the drug cartels,” thereby militarizing the entire region.

The essence of Pastor Niemöller’s 60-year-old declaration is that all workers and their allies must oppose these growing fascist attacks. We in PLP are organizing exactly that, and across all borders.

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