Lost children — and the U.S. empire
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has had to reveal that it “lost track” of the families of 545 children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. The migrant children are still suffering, alone and parentless, in the U.S. An Oct. 21 court filing by the American Civil Liberties Union says their deported parents are unreachable, many having fled into hiding in their countries of origin.
The “caging” of migrant families and unaccompanied minors in temporary shelters began during the Obama administration. White supremacist Trump then put in place a “zero-tolerance” attack on im/migrants, including ordering parent-children separations at the U.S. border in 2017-2018. This was a deliberate measure to make families fearful of seeking shelter in the U.S. as they fled home countries devastated by military and economic wars fomented by U.S. imperialism.
The number of migrant children in U.S. custody has increased again to about 1,900 in October, up from 800 a few months ago, as more unaccompanied children cross the border, sent out alone by their desperate families. (Washington Post, Oct. 23)
Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s assault on migrant children continues, this time with pressure on scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to agree to a dangerous and court-prohibited plan to use border hotels to hold children before deporting them. CDC officials have resisted, saying this puts the children at serious health risk during the coronavirus pandemic.
Widespread horror at the earlier parent-child separations sparked massive demonstrations in the U.S. These protests must continue – consistently and forcefully – against all U.S. racist policies that attack, undermine and attempt to destroy the familial and cultural structures that are essential to oppressed peoples’ survival and resistance.
Caging continues U.S. racist history
Such racist attacks have been part of the strategy of building the U.S. empire from its beginning.
In 1779, during the American Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington (the “Father of His Country”) ordered a scorched-earth military campaign against Haudenosaunee nations in the Mohawk Valley of what is now New York state. “Revolutionary” soldiers leveled villages and orchards, burned winter crops and drove Indigenous families into exile, where many starved to death.
The history of the U.S. is bloodied with massacres of unarmed Indigenous people, often children and elderly, as U.S. armies implemented the “Manifest Destiny” of U.S. expansion through theft of Indigenous lands across the continent.
And legal enslavement of African people in the U.S. from its beginning, with the designation of human beings as chattel property to be bought and sold, meant centuries of forcible breaking up of Black family units and relationships. This buying-and-selling assault on the social structures of Black people was the original foundation of current U.S. capitalist economic wealth.
The very structure of the U.S. as an imperialist country continues to rest on systematic and legally “justified” white supremacist attacks on communities of Indigenous, Black and Brown people. These attacks continue – from the separation of migrant Latinx families at the U.S. border, to attacks on Indigenous communities defending land and water rights, to police murders and wholesale imprisonment of impoverished oppressed communities.
A transitional program aimed at the end of capitalism in the U.S. and the beginning of socialism means fighting to abolish ICE and the Border Patrol, fighting to abolish the police and close the prisons, and fighting to end white supremacy.
Communist revolutionaries aim to put an end forever to these racist attacks on oppressed communities and families – including the migrant children still waiting to be reunited with their parents.