We, the Democratic Socialists of America - Los Angeles (DSA-LA) Chapter, Immigration Justice Committee demand the abolition of ICE, the immediate reunification of detained families, the halt of any detentions or deportations, and for the immediate resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions & Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen. DSA-LA’s participation in today’s “Families Belong Together Mass rally & March,” is intended to show solidarity with undocumented peoples from all across the country. Our participation does not condone the march’s humanization of the police or its attempts to discourage dissent.
As socialists, we stand in solidarity with all immigrants and refugees in the struggle against capitalist exploitation. Borders are inherently violent: they define strict and artificial rules for the occupation and mobility of people, who are often displaced by various economic, social, and environmental pressures, including war and other forms of violence.
Many come to the United States as refugees or economic migrants because capitalism and U.S. imperialism create and sustain cycles of poverty, ecological collapse, and violence. Historically, the United State has been responsible for the destabilization of not only Mexico and Central America, but also all of South America. It is not a crime to seek refugee status upon crossing the border to the US, however those who have applied have been treated like criminals when they try to utilize the resources allowed to them and have been denied despite the violence they face upon deportation.
The current immigration system exists to sustain global material exploitation. Immigration law in the United States is crafted around white nationalist, colonial state-building projects, and its enforcement is guided by capitalist concerns.
The tactic of incarceration further intensifies violence for women, trans, queer, and people of all genders and racial backgrounds. The fight for the rights of immigrants thus forces us to confront the oppressive, disciplinary apparatus of law enforcement and the prison industrial complex.
The separation and detention of families has become a rallying point for many Americans, however the detention of immigrants is not a new phenomena. The creation of ICE and its public private partnership with detention centers has lead to a systemic abuse of the immigrants who pass through these facilities. We must abolish the agency that only serves to gather undocumented immigrants and house them in these concentration camps until either they perish from the extreme conditions or they are deported to their deaths.
The common liberal position on “immigration reform” leaves much to be desired. We do not want guest worker programs that benefit businesses. We do not believe that the main reason to defend the rights of undocumented immigrants or formerly documented people is because no one else will do “those jobs.” We wholeheartedly reject the narrative—perpetuated, at times, even by former immigrants who prey upon their brethren—that deems some undocumented persons such as DREAMers good, deserving, or otherwise productive members of the workforce, and others bad or undeserving threats to public safety. We do not think that someone’s worth as a person is tied to the economic growth they generate.
As socialists, we are uniquely positioned to take a stand on this issue in ways that other groups will not. We must Abolish ICE and all forms of imprisonment and the carceral state. We cannot abide while people live in cages for the crime of living with material concerns. We cannot stop with the dissolution of ICE, we must ensure that all parts of this machine are abolished, including Customs and Border Protection and the greater Department of Homeland Security which houses ICE.