Living in a State of Terror: Millions of People in the Crosshairs of Trump/Pence Regime’s War on Immigrants
February 25, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Arrest during an ICE raid in Los Angeles, February 7. (Photo: Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)
Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"
With Trump’s executive order calling for major escalation of repression against all undocumented immigrants and with Homeland Security head Gen. John Kelly’s memos outlining concrete steps in what Trump calls a “military operation,” millions of immigrants are living under constant fear and uncertainty. Hundreds have already been caught in ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids during the past week.
Trump claims that they are going after the “bad dudes.” These “bad dudes” include those like Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who was grabbed by ICE agents in Arizona during a routine check-in and was immediately deported. Or Daniel Ramirez Medina in Seattle, who showed his temporary work permit, for which he is qualified under the DACA program, only to be arrested and shipped off to a detention center in Tacoma. Or the transgender woman in El Paso, Texas, who was arrested by ICE inside a courthouse where she’d just gotten a court order to protect her from domestic violence. (See “Trump’s ICE Raids Deliver the Message: All Undocumented Immigrants Are in His Sights.”)
Suddenly, everything has changed for undocumented immigrants living across the U.S. The time is gone when they could think that if they hadn’t been charged with a serious crime, they stood some chance of being relatively safe from deportation. Now, they are being forced to confront how they are going to survive in a country that has declared them “criminals” and “undesirables.” A country that has made it a crime for them just to be here, ruled by a regime that has made clear it intends to find them and drive them out with their “deportation force.” The stories of these people are just beginning to be told, and they give a sense of the terror of living in the fascist Trump/Pence regime if you are undocumented.
“Kids are being traumatized by this”
A recent report by Los Angeles TV station KTLA included interviews with undocumented people in different parts of the country. Some immigrants without papers have stopped answering knocks on their doors. Others are taping bedsheets over windows. Many are keeping their children from visiting friends or going to the library after school. Teachers across the country are reporting that parents are keeping their children home from school or withdrawing them from school altogether, out of fear. (“Immigration Arrests Sparking Fear Among Immigrant Communities Nationwide”)
The reality is this: We are now living in a country where 11 million people have suddenly been officially declared criminals. We cannot keep our own humanity if we don’t fight for the humanity of these millions now under immediate attack. We refuse to accept a fascist America!
A Day Without Immigrants protest, Austin, TX, February 16.
A Day Without Immigrants protest, San Francisco, February 16.
A Day Without Immigrants protest, Washington DC, February 16.
After a meeting of about a hundred teachers who came together in Austin, Texas, to discuss how to talk to children about these raids, one educator summed up: “Kids are ... clearly traumatized by this. Young people I’ve spoken to live in fear that their government is coming for them or coming for their parents. Where do you go?”
Cesar Vargas, one of the first undocumented immigrants in New York State to be sworn in as a lawyer, told KTLA, “There are people that I work with who essentially want to go dark. They don’t want to be public in any way whatsoever. They spend less time on the street. They go to work and go straight back home. They don’t go on Facebook. They put curfews on themselves.”
An undocumented immigrant living in Brooklyn, New York, with his partner and children ages three and eight said, “People are not leaving the house to get a cup of coffee, to have dinner or take their children to the library. You don’t know when the next roundup will be. You go to work. You come back home.” He continued, “I’m looking around all the time. It’s not only (ICE) but the police as well. What if they stop you and ask you questions?” A construction worker, who worked on the reconstruction in Queens and Staten Island after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, said, “We were among the first to respond during the catastrophe. We helped rebuild homes and the owners still seek us out for work.” But now, what he gets from some is, “Oh, you helped me rebuild my house but now I don’t need you and you should go back to Mexico.”
“They could be waiting for us anywhere. Any corner, any block”
A New York Times report described how a woman who fled El Salvador 12 years ago is “in a state of self-imposed house arrest, refusing to drive, fearing to leave her home, wondering how she will take her younger son, who is autistic, to doctor’s appointments.” She said, “I don’t want to go to the store, to church—they are looking everywhere, and they know where to find us. They could be waiting for us anywhere. Any corner, any block” (“Immigrants Hide, Fearing Capture on ‘Any Corner’”)
Parents and children call each other on the phone repeatedly each day, just to confirm that each is OK. People are preparing for the worst, making arrangements with acquaintances who will act as guardians for their kids in case they are suddenly deported—and telling the children how to contact the guardians and other emergency contacts.
11 Million People Living “On the Run”
The reality is this: We are now living in a country where a whole section of people, in their millions, has suddenly been officially declared criminals. Eleven million—fathers, mothers, children, grandparents, friends, co-workers, and colleagues—all are now being forced to live their lives “on the run.” They have all been told they must turn themselves in to the authorities or wait to be captured. They are being compelled to prepare to leave the country they have lived in for years, perhaps their entire lives, and be sent to a country they do not know or were forced to flee.
We cannot keep our own humanity if we don’t fight for the humanity of these millions now under immediate attack. We refuse to accept a fascist America!
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.