Obama, Trump, Biden share blame for Abbott’s border horrors

Reports in recent weeks from a whistleblowing Texas Department of Public Safety trooper have laid bare the state-sponsored, inhumane, anti-migrant policies confronting families seeking asylum at the Texas/Mexico border.

Migrants trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico are confronted by large razor-wired buoys used as a border barrier along the banks of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, July 11, 2023. Credit: Eric Gray

An article in the July 3 Houston Chronicle disclosed previously unreported incidents witnessed by the trooper in Eagle Pass, Texas. There, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state troopers to set “traps” of razor wire-wrapped barrels in parts of the river with low visibility; to push small children and women nursing babies back into the Rio Grande, resulting in their deaths; and to refuse water to asylum seekers despite the repressive heat.

The consequences of these terrorist directives include drownings of adults and children; a miscarriage by a pregnant woman caught in the wire; serious lacerations suffered by children and adults from the barbed wire; and children, among others, passing out from heat exhaustion, but then pushed back into the river by Texas National Guard soldiers. 

The DPS trooper wrote that the placement of wire along the river “forced people to cross in areas that are deeper and not as safe for people carrying kids and bags.” (HoustonChronicle.com, July 10)

Workers World totally agrees with a Texas comrade who wrote to us: “Despicable Texas Gov. Greg Abbott should be deported to hell!” But we recognize that Abbott is able to get away with the atrocities he’s pursuing at the Texas border because of decades of xenophobic policies by both Democratic and Republican administrations that set the stage for this barbaric treatment of migrants, immigrants and asylum-seekers.

Under pressure from 800,000 young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, yet failed to make it permanent. In March 2014, at a rally in Los Angeles, a coalition of immigrant groups denounced Obama, calling him “the deporter-in-chief” because of the record number —2 million deportations during his term.

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy separated over 5,000 children from their parents, with no tracking process or records, so the families could not be reunited.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden secured broad backing from immigrant groups during his 2020 campaign with promises to undo the criminalization and punitive nature of immigrant detention. Biden has instead expanded detentions and deportations and embraced Trump-era anti-immigrant policies, including “Remain in Mexico” and deportations of migrants previously protected from Title 42 expulsions. Haitians and other immigrants of African descent have been particularly targeted by racist policies and politicians.

Biden has also continued deadly imperialist, economic sanctions against many Latin American and Caribbean countries. These sanctions have been the driving force behind the migration of hundreds of thousands of people. 

Obama, Trump, and now Biden share the blame for Abbott’s horrors by failing to create a secure policy for migrants seeking to enter the U.S. without retaliation.  

Workers World is in solidarity with all immigrants and migrants forced to attempt unsafe border crossings, driven by economic oppression caused by decades of U.S. neoliberal policies in their countries and U.S.-backed political repression.

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