On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day in the U.S., the world once again witnessed a president with no heart. One might even argue with no brain.
If this was Oz, it would be entertaining.
But it’s the belly of the imperialist beast, so when President Donald Trump announces any edict, it is ominous.
The workers and oppressed here and around the world are suffering. Migrants are agonizing at the southern border of the U.S. Yet on Feb. 14 Trump — calling up his signature campaign issue — declared that the national emergency that needed the most attention and funding was — the Wall at the southern border.
Sarah Sanders, Trump’s press secretary, stated the emergency was needed “to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.”
More, more, more money and lies for the Wall
At the Valentine’s Day press conference, Trump, being his usual demagogic self, used racism and lies as arguments for more money and for the “emergency.”
Making white-supremacist slurs that undocumented workers in the U.S. are all gang members, rapists and killers, Trump invited the “Angel Moms” to the event to prove his lies. These are mothers whose children were allegedly killed by migrants.
Everyone mourns the loss of a child. But when tragedies are weaponized and used as political pawns, they should be opposed. One of the “Angel Moms,” Maureen Maloney from Massachusetts, lost her son in a motorcycle accident when he collided with a car driven by an undocumented worker. This is certainly no argument for racist pandering.
Congress has already approved a spending package of $1.38 billion for the Wall. However, this massive amount is short of the $5.7 billion that Trump demands.
Buoyed by his right-wing base, egged on by his reactionary friends on Fox News, Trump is determined to undermine even his own capitalist government to get his way.
By declaring a national emergency on the border, he aims to use executive action to put together $8 billion to build his Wall.
Both parties built the Wall
In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated, “Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall.” (NBC News, Feb. 14)
This is what some liberals call the “Resistance” today!
What if Trump had gotten Mexico to pay for the Wall? Would that have made the Democrats happy?
But despite the divisions between Trump and the Democrats — and now even some Republicans — both parties are responsible for the modern war on migrants. Both parties have paid for the militarized Wall that already exists.
The American Friends Service Committee has pointed out: “[P]olicies under every administration … have systematically militarized southern border communities, criminalizing millions of immigrants and creating repressive conditions from California to Texas. … Many of these efforts have been couched in the language of war,” such as “the war on drugs … the war on crime … and the war on terror.” (tinyurl.com/yyj7yl4c)
Pedro Rios, director of the AFSC’s U.S.-Mexico Border Program in San Diego, emphasizes that “today U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, is the largest law enforcement agency in the country.”
Rios elaborates, “They use military-style enforcement tactics, equipment, and strategies to ‘control’ the border, including drone planes, military helicopters and the coordination of local law enforcement and federal forces that embolden vigilante groups.”
Humanitarian crisis at the Wall
Clearly, the real crisis at the border is a humanitarian one that both parties created and that Trump has accelerated.
Families have been teargassed; legitimate asylum seekers have been locked up. Families have been torn apart, placed in cages and in detention centers that are cold and unbearable.
Children have died in custody — alone and afraid.
It is still not known how many children have actually been taken from their parents and placed in foster care. Officials say that many of these children will never be returned to their parents, many of whom have already been deported.
Despite the current posturing by Democrats, it was under the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama that more immigrants were deported than ever before or since in U.S. history.
Currently, liberals are up in arms about Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, worried about the alarming scope of his powers and violations of the U.S. constitution.
Yet the people of the border in south Texas, primarily Mexicans, live in an area that has been transformed, according to the National Network for Immigrant Rights, “to a zone of permanent vigilance, enforcement and violence. … [I]t has become an imagined war zone … where the U.S. Constitution has little to no value.” (tinyurl.com/y6nb24or)
Where is the concern for the constitutional rights of the Rio Grande Valley residents of south Texas?
Probably in the same place where Democrats talk about the rights of Black and Brown youth gunned down by racist police. Nowhere.
End the war on migrants, end all wars
Today, the Mexico/U.S. border in south Texas is the most militarized region in the country — because despite their bickering, both parties are united in defending the capitalist system.
According to the National Priorities Project for 2015: “[M]ilitary spending is projected to account for 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, a total of $598.5 billion.” (tinyurl.com/pr7w8ml)
These billions should be spent on the people, on social services, not for the Wall or for wars — certainly not for a war on Venezuela.
In a statement Senator Schumer released on “the crisis in Venezuela,” he repeatedly lied to justify U.S. intervention and to rally other countries to the attack, while claiming that this was to support the Venezuelan people “in their efforts to restore democracy.” (tinyurl.com/yxnxd2k7)
Yet the administration of President Maduro is a democratically elected government that, if allowed to live in peace, would continue to create conditions that prevent migration.
Not one more cent should be spent on the Wall.
Democratic party allies were scheduled to rally nationally Feb. 18 under the call “No Racist Wall, No Power Grab.” They have finally been moved to call it a racist wall.
Who will actually stop the Wall and the wars? The movement of the workers and oppressed must fight to dismantle the current militarized Wall and to end the war on migrants and all wars.