A Week of Demonizing Immigrants, Enflaming Fascists:
U.S. Intensifies Assaults Upon Immigrants, Prepares for More

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This past week, the Trump/Pence regime announced two measures that significantly escalate government attacks on immigrants and immigration, and lay the groundwork for even more intense and thorough assaults.

Suspending Green Cards

On Wednesday, April 22, Trump signed an executive order to suspend issuing green cards (documents that establish immigrants as legal permanent residents) to about 358,000 people abroad. Many of them have been waiting for years to reunite with family in the U.S., or to take up new jobs or educational opportunities. Trump’s order, which will put a temporary end to all immigration based on family ties, was described by Stanford University law professor Lucas Guttentag as “nothing less than an attempt to unilaterally override through presidential fiat the entire legal immigration system.”

Fascists pushing for an immediate suspension of all immigration were angered when Trump’s order didn’t go as far as they wanted. But Stephen Miller, a “senior policy advisor” to Trump and the architect of the fascist regime’s systematic attacks on immigrants, assured a meeting of its leading business supporters that the order is part of a strategy to end immigration. He said, “The first and most important thing is to turn off the faucet of new immigrant labor—mission accomplished—with signing that executive order.” A reporter for the Washington Post who heard a recording of Miller’s talk to the group wrote that Miller told them that Trump’s action “will order in the kind of long-term changes to American society he [Miller] has advocated for years....”

Trump's move is a qualitative leap, setting a new precedent, in the assault on legal immigration, which has always been a priority of the white-supremacist fascists in reversing and halting increasing immigration from countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2016, in an interview between Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, two of the architects of this policy and its implementation, Miller agreed with Bannon when he asked: “Isn’t the beating heart of this problem, the real beating heart of it, of what we gotta get sorted here, not illegal immigration?... As horrific as that is, and it’s horrific, don’t we have a problem? We’ve looked the other way on this legal immigration that’s kinda overwhelmed the country?” This move opens the door to and accelerates widespread restrictions on legal immigration, which has already suffered precipitous decline under Trump and his fascist-controlled immigration services.

Denying Lifeline to International and DACA Students

Then on April 23, Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Christian fascist secretary of education, announced that emergency college grants Congress approved as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus “rescue package” will not go to most international students studying in the U.S. (about one million people) as well as 400,000 DACA youth (known as “Dreamers,” people who were brought to this country as infants or children and who have grown up in the U.S.).

DeVos’ order is devastating the lives of those students, many of whom have already struggled to keep up with tuition and basic living expenses. Now they are denied even a rudimentary lifeline in the middle of an unprecedented crisis. A woman studying at Yale University told the New York Times that the university pressured her to return to Tanzania when classes were called off because of the pandemic, saying it would make “very few exceptions” for international students to remain in the U.S. But the combination of the DeVos’ order and the immigration restrictions left her “really scared if ... the U.S. consulate chooses to remain closed for a long time and I’m not able to renew my visa and go back to school.”

Fascist Product of an Ugly System

These attacks came shortly after the U.S. effectively sealed the U.S./Mexico border and began deporting people, including children, as soon as they set foot on U.S. soil, without any hearings or recourse. Now, it has seized on the crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic to make, enforce, and institutionalize major assaults on legal immigrants and DACA youth. Barely a whimper of objection has been heard from the Democrats.

The Trump/Pence regime has built on longstanding American traditions of racism and xenophobia (hatred of “foreigners”) and launched relentless attacks on immigrants, using them as a battering ram to advance its entire fascist program. It has taken the already brutal and deadly attacks on immigrants during the presidency of Barack Obama—the “deporter-in-chief”—to new levels of terror. It has militarized the border with Mexico to new extremes of repression. It has banned immigration from many Muslim-majority countries, denigrated and degraded people from what Trump calls “shithole countries,” and revoked Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from some of them. It ended asylum programs and “protected status” for many refugees. It has built concentration camps and penned children in dog cages. This spring the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the regime’s efforts to expel the Dreamers.

When Trump tweeted his intention to suspend green card admissions, he said he is taking the measure “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens.” The “enemy” Trump is targeting in the name of protecting Americans is actually quite visible for him and his fascist mobs of supporters: “foreigners,” people who aren’t white, who speak languages other than English.

There are tens of millions of people in this country who don’t want to live in the hateful world these fascists are creating. We all urgently need to develop the ways to oppose, resist, and STOP this fascist onslaught, NOW!

Protesters in Los Angeles car caravan, March 31, demand the release of immigrants in California detention centers because of concerns that COVID-19 will be a death sentence. Signs say: "No more attacks on immigrants! Health, safety, let them go! Revolution— Nothing Less!" (Photo: AP)

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