A Month of Abuse and Death Inflicted on Immigrants

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Relentless exploitation and brutal repression of immigrants is built deeply right into this capitalist-imperialist system. The following are just some of the most outrageous examples of the deadly, life-strangling abuse inflicted on immigrants in the past month.

Rally for Antonio Zambrano-Montes, February 11.Erika Zambrano at a rally February 11, with photo of her husband, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, who was killed by police. AP photo

February 10: Antonio Zambrano-Montes, shot at 17 times, struck by five or six bullets, and killed by police in Pasco, Washington.

February 20: Ruben Garcia Villalpando, gunned down by police in Grapevine, Texas, after he had been pulled over for a supposed traffic violation. Both Zambrano-Montes and Villalpando were unarmed.

February 20: Some 2,000 men at the brutally run Willacy County Correctional Center in South Texas, near the Mexico border, rebelled against abusive, degrading, filthy, and inhumane conditions. To bring attention to their treatment, they set fire to two of the large tents that function as their barracks. Most of the prisoners were from areas far from South Texas, and most were there for nonviolent “crimes,” especially “illegal entry” to the U.S. The authorities responded in full force, shut down the prison, and scattered the inmates to other prisons across the country—they refuse to tell the prisoners’ families, friends, or attorneys where.

March 4: The U.S. Border Patrol reported that the bodies of 55 immigrants have been found in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas since October 2014. That does not include the 15 bodies of drowning victims pulled out of the Rio Grande River. The border these immigrants died trying to cross is one of the most heavily militarized patches of terrain in the world, all of it aimed at them.

Bob Avakian responds to reactionary fools who ask, “If this country is so terrible, why do people come here...” A clip from Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, a film of a talk given in 2003.

Learn more about Bob Avakian here.

March 9: Over a few days in early March, 2,059 immigrants were arrested nationwide by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in “Operation Cross Check.” The people arrested are either being deported quickly or sent before a U.S. Attorney for further criminal charges, to be deported when they’ve finished their sentences. The Obama administration says the people arrested are the “worst of the worst.” In fact, most of those arrested had never been convicted or even charged with violent crimes; the most common charges were illegal entry into the U.S. and DUI.

Criminalizing immigrant, and immigration is a hallmark of the Obama administration. Being in this country without “papers” is not, in fact, a crime, and until the Obama years people arrested trying to cross the border were not charged with any criminal offense. But the real question is: Who are the real criminals? Desperate people impoverished by a system that has devastated and ransacked their homelands, or the overlords who profit from that system and their heavily armed and brutal military, police, and Border Patrol who enforce it? (See the video of Bob Avakian, “Why do people come here from all over the world?”)

All attacks on immigrants must stop—all sections of the people, immigrant and non-immigrant alike—need to build resistance to the attacks on immigrants as a key component of the massive outpourings on April 14.

STOP the Attacks

A protracted, bitter fight over how to respond to what the leaders of this system see as an “immigration crisis” has been underway in Washington. Neither Obama nor his Republican opponents are remotely concerned with the well-being of the masses of immigrants. Both sides want deepened repression and intensified government control of immigrants. But they differ over how best to go about it. (For more on this, read the Revolution article, “Obama’s Immigration Moves, and the Need for Increased Resistance.”)

Meanwhile, the machinery of repression is relentless; lives of immigrants continue to be destroyed by this system and its enforcers at the border, its immigration prisons, and murdering police. The lives of millions of people hang in the balance; people’s hopes are raised one week, only to be dashed the next.

But the rulers of this society have a big problem. There is no solution within their system to what they see as their “immigration problem.” In fact, this “problem” is deeply embedded in the system of capitalism-imperialism. This system needs an enormous number of heavily exploited immigrants to function properly and to yield profits to the capitalists.

In the past 20 years or so, that need of the capitalists has grown enormously. This is one of the main reasons that the immigrant population of the U.S. has soared, and has expanded beyond towns and cities along the U.S.-Mexico border and in the Southwest. Places like De Queen, Arkansas, Dodge City, Kansas, Pasco, Washington, and dozens of others across the country have majority Latino populations now, most of these immigrants from Mexico and Central America and their children.

The more the system requires immigrants to maximize its overall profitability and functioning, the more capitalists and their enforcers are driven to repress all immigrants. The rulers of this system, represented by both Democrats and Republicans, fear immigrants because, as Revolution wrote last December, they can contribute to “potential dissolution of a U.S. social cohesion grounded in white supremacy, male supremacy, repression of immigrants, and ‘English Only.’ To put it another way, when it comes to immigrants, the capitalists ‘can’t live with ’em, can't live without ’em.’”

Determined resistance to the brutal police state assaults on immigrants needs to be an important component of the outpourings on April 14. Make plans now to mobilize immigrants and others to make April 1 a day of targeting the attacks on immigrants as part of building up to #ShutDownA14, as called for at the national meeting of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Let the Stop Mass Incarceration Network know what the plans are.

And on A14—everywhere, people need to act to STOP the Demonization, Criminalization, and Deportations of Immigrants and the Militarization of the Border!


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