Lest we think undocumented immigration across the US-Mexico border has abated, this is the border patrol arresting immigrants near San Isidro, Texas, about 60 miles north of the border. Traveling through farm fields (in scorching heat), the immigrants were trying to bypass border patrol stations situated on the north-bound highways.
Central American immigrants traveling through Mexico are subject to extreme violence by criminal gangs & paramilitary death squads; many end up mutilated & in unmarked mass graves. The state of Veracruz, which is run by a murderous governor, is a major transit point for immigrants riding atop the “Train of Death” north to the border. As the train slows there, ordinary working people from the nearby towns rush to the trains with food & other supplies to hand off to the immigrants. There are also shelters for immigrants along the route where they can be treated for injuries, be fed, be treated as human beings. If they manage to cross the border & are released by border patrol, volunteers through a local Catholic church provide them with food, baths, clothing, & human solidarity.
Now we are reading reports that in Greece & in Macedonia thousands of volunteers are creating networks to provide food, medicine, camping utensils, toys to refugees. According to the volunteers in Greece, none of the aid is coming from NGOs, local or national government.
The Republican candidates focused on immigration, hoping to appeal to the most xenophobic, racist elements in US society–those who form vigilante squads at the border to drive back immigrants. What the despicables don’t realize is that many people around the world, including in the US, recognize a fellow human being when they see one, identify with the struggles of poverty & dispossession, & stand with immigrants–whether they have papers or not. Their humanity is all that matters.
Immigration is a mass phenomenon & has become a permanent feature of neoliberal capitalism where war, sweatshop economics, land expropriations of farmers, & austerity policies are bleeding millions of people dry. It’s a hallmark of the barbaric phase of capitalism; where we stand on immigration isn’t just a hallmark of our humanity but is a harbinger of whether we will be able to thwart the assaults of neoliberalism or will all go down together.
Immigration is a human right. Open the damn borders.
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)