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Vol. 81/No. 11      March 20, 2017

(front page)

New gov’t order bars people from 6 majority
Muslim nations

President Donald Trump’s March 6 revised executive order, which the administration titles “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry,” is aimed at withstanding federal court challenges like those that blocked implementation of his earlier anti-Muslim, anti-working-class order.

The new order still places a temporary moratorium on travel to the U.S. from a number of predominantly Muslim nations, but it explicitly states that the ban does not apply to permanent residents or anyone who already has a visa, one of the parts of the earlier order that helped fuel large protests across the country.

It imposes a 90-day moratorium on the entry of citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — the same countries that the Barack Obama administration had previously singled out for closer scrutiny. Iraq is no longer on the list, because the White House says the Iraqi government is already implementing “improved” vetting. The ban begins March 16.

The order no longer imposes an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. Instead, it includes Syria in a 120-day moratorium on refugees from anywhere in the world and lowers the annual limit of refugees legally entering the U.S. to 50,000 — less than half what it has been.

Meanwhile, deportations of undocumented immigrants continue, with the threat of implementation of broader moves allowed for in Trump’s Jan. 25 executive orders. These actions against the immigrant section of the U.S. working class are being widely discussed by working people of all nationalities.

For decades workers born here have been working and living alongside workers without papers, and they’ve got to know and trust each other. Deportations and immigration raids are less popular than ever in the working class.

“This is a union household and a Trump household,” Karen Tranchina told Candace Wagner, who had knocked on her door to introduce the Socialist Workers Party in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood March 5. “I don’t like a lot of what Trump says and does, but I really hate Hillary Clinton.”

Tranchina said she knows a lot of people who are undocumented, “Italian, Mexican, from everywhere. I have friends who say, ‘deport them all.’ I don’t agree with that.”

What the bosses want is a superexploited section of the working class that they can use to push down wages. “The unions need to fight for amnesty as part of unifying working people,” Wagner told her. That makes sense, Tranchina said.

Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of New York, met with a group of West Africans in Orange, New Jersey, March 5. “The SWP demands amnesty — everyone who’s here is here — and says no more raids or deportations,” he said. “And we’re against any immigration tests based on religion, nationality or political views.”

“Every country has its own borders and immigration laws,” Shermelle Colemen Grant told Róger Calero and this correspondent, who were campaigning for the Socialist Workers Party door to door in the Bronx’s Hunts Point neighborhood. “I think that immigrants who commit crimes should be kicked out. But many of my neighbors in this building are immigrants. And they haven’t done anything wrong. They just want to work. They’re worried about what’s going to happen.”

‘I don’t want my neighbors deported’
“Some people say that Blacks and Latinos don’t get along, but that’s not true,” Grant said. “We share each other’s food. Our kids play together. I don’t want to see them deported.”

“We have to build a revolutionary workers movement and not let them divide us,” Calero said.

Along with his anti-immigrant rhetoric and threats to accelerate these anti-worker measures, Trump has echoed calls made earlier under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush calling for immigration “reform,” telling the New York Times Feb. 28 that Democrats and Republicans need to compromise. In his speech to Congress later that day Trump said that the U.S. should switch away from “lower-skilled immigration” and instead adopt “a merit-based system.”

Most immigrant workers — their confidence strengthened by the successful March 16 Day Without Immigrants nationwide strikes and protests — are not panicking, but are waiting to see what develops. “We are understanding the power that we have,” Mario Ramírez, an organizer with Voces de La Frontera, said by phone from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 8. The group organized a march of 20,000 March 13 to protest the raids and deportations and is helping to initiate nationwide actions on May 1. In 2006 millions went on strike to protest a bill in Congress that would criminalize undocumented workers.

In fact under Trump, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement cops continue the same policies on the ground as the Obama administration. The widely publicized Feb. 6-10 sweeps that picked up more than 680 immigrants were smaller than many similar actions under Obama. Like those raids, Immigration and Customs Enforcement claimed they were targeting individuals who had previously done time for serious crimes or had been accused of major offenses. And as they picked up people at home, on the street or at other locations, other undocumented workers who were not accused of serious offenses were also picked up.

There have also been some cases where people who had been reporting to ICE on a regular basis while awaiting hearings on their appeals of deportation orders, who expected to be granted an extension like they had other times over the last several years, instead were deported.

The Department of Homeland Security, CNN reported March 4, “is considering a proposal to separate children from adults when they are trying to enter the country illegally.” Under current policy, families are kept together in detention or released while awaiting an immigration hearing. Homeland Security has also threatened to prosecute parents who are undocumented immigrants as smugglers if they pay someone to bring their children to the U.S.

But so far these proposals are just on paper.

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson set March 15 for a Hawaii legal challenge to Trump’s revised orders on refugees and visitors from the six majority-Muslim countries. That’s one day before they are set to go into effect.
Related articles:
LA: SWP demands amnesty for undocumented workers!
Hundreds demand ICE release Daniel Medina
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