Friday, December 27, 2019

One World

Immigration policies will never be “just” or “fair.”

Nandita Sharma — a professor of sociology at the University of Hawai’i in Mānoa and an activist in feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and the autonomous worldwide No Borders movement — told Truthout: “Every immigration policy is designed to exclude. You can fine-tune it … but at the end of the day, who are we to decide who gets to move and who doesn’t get to move — who gets to live and who gets to die?”

To create a border, states have to destroy the memory of what came before it. For almost a century after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the United States had open borders. Restrictive immigration laws did not exist in the U.S. until 1875 when the Page Act was signed, which primarily targeted unfree Chinese laborers, or “coolies,” and women brought for “lewd and immoral purposes.” The Page Act was a precursor to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which dramatically shifted immigration policy and laid the foundation for more restrictive mobility laws.

“All states … want to control people’s mobility,” Sharma explained. Nation states control mobility by preventing people from entering. They tend to be less concerned with people leaving. “Nationalism is an ideology that legitimizes the idea of the nation and organizes a political community on that basis,” said Sharma. “It is a strategy to dupe this part of the working class into thinking they were something other than working class people,” Sharma added.

Alejandra Pablos — an immigrant rights and reproductive justice organizer and a member of the migrant justice group Mijente pointed out “it’s super militarized. There’s always police,” added Pablos, who has been in deportation proceedings since 2011. “There’s always check points. There’s always soldiers.” For Pablos, borders and capitalism go hand in hand. “We’re reproducing global mass displacement through our capitalism,” said Pablos, who spoke about how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) fueled migration. Meanwhile, the criminalization of migrants ensures “that at the same time, capitalism thrives.”

All evidence and studies on this show that tougher immigration policies do not deter people from migrating. Also immigration controls are"...designed to weaken them once they get in,” said Sharma. “The whole system from start to finish is one that makes money off of all of this misery.”

Billions have been spent on border enforcement, migrant detention and surveillance. From detention camp contractors like CoreCivic and the GEO Group to tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Dell, and data-mining companies such as Palantir, who all contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to the staffing of nearly 20,000 Border Patrol agents, to the private prison firms who lobby Republicans, the list of who profits from migration policing and surveillance goes on and on.
Capitalists also profit off of those who make it across the border. When you have 11 million people with no legal status, who risked their lives to get here, who spent their life savings or went into debt in the process, you create a labor pool that is vulnerable, cheap and exploitable. 

“Entire sectors of the American economy would effectively cease to exist were it not for undocumented immigrants,” Sharma said. 

Transcending borders and nation states is a revolutionary project. The institutions that sustain them will not be taken down by politicians in our current political system, no matter how progressive that person may be, although the “most left candidate might create the political conditions … to expand our horizons” in terms of challenging borders, according to Sharma.

Like any revolutions in our past, dismantling these systems would require massive mobilization, direct action, organizing, political education, and drastic shifts in consciousness across all borders.

“When I talk about abolition, I’m talking a lot about creation,” Pablos said. “Organizers like myself do have that new vision, and we’re ready to have these conversations. And again, if people created the structures, we can create new things. We can create new values, new principles.”

Taken from here

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