Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

U.S. Racist Immigration Policy Is Spreading the Virus, Not Containing It

Building on the existing horrors of the U.S. border, the Trump administration has used the pandemic as an opportunity to continue to enact racist and nationalist immigration policies, to the point of threatening to deport people even after they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Rebecca Margolies

May 14, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share
Image: Prisoners in an immigration detention center in Louisiana protest unsafe conditions (Reuters)

United States immigration policy has always, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, been racist and murderous, violently enforcing the farce of borders on stolen land and protecting the free flow of capital by preventing the free flow of people. In recent years, it has become even more deadly, as Trump’s hyper-nationalistic policies and closing of any safe avenue for entry deliberately force people to risk their lives to enter the United States. Horrifyingly, though unsurprisingly, the Trump administration has used COVID-19 as an opportunity to continue to crack down on immigration, both through stepped-up enforcement and attempts at a full ban

Even when there is not a pandemic, time spent in the custody of ICE can be a death sentence. Under COVID-19, however, not only are those in immigration detention even more vulnerable to infection and severe illness themselves, but the U.S. government’s lack of regard for the life of migrants puts everyone caught up in the vast prison industry at risk, as transfers between immigration facilities and local jails continue, spreading COVID-19 back and forth. For instance, at a for-profit ICE detention center in Texas, 31 detainees and 7 employees tested positive for COVID-19. Nationwide, there are 800 confirmed cases in immigration detention centers, a number that is almost definitely a fraction of true cases, given that ICE refuses to test most imprisoned migrants. 

After crowding people together in prisons with few cleaning options and often no access to  medical facilities once they are exposed to COVID-19, ICE then continues to deport people, not only tearing apart families and terrorizing communities as usual, but also spreading a deadly illness around the world, often to the countries that are least equipped to deal with the pandemic. For instance, until resistance caused them to at least momentarily change course, ICE planned to deport five Haitians who had already tested positive for COVID-19 while in detention.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new problems, but more than that, it has made starker the existing horrors of capitalism and the legacy of colonialism, borders that only exist for the working class and racialized among them. The US immigration crisis is a problem made worse by COVID-19, but not one that will be solved by the pandemic’s ending. The only solution, during the pandemic and after, is to close all concentration camps, abolish all anti-migrant forces, open the borders, provide full social and political rights for migrants, and to end US imperialism.

Facebook Twitter Share

United States

A group of Columbia University faculty dressed in regalia hold signs that say "end student suspensions now"

Faculty, Staff, and Students Must Unite Against Repression of the Palestine Movement

As Gaza solidarity encampments spread across the United States, faculty and staff are mobilizing in solidarity with their students against repression. We must build on that example and build a strong campaign for our right to protest.

Olivia Wood

April 23, 2024
Image: Joshua Briz/AP

All Eyes on Columbia: We Must Build a National Campaign to Defend the Right to Protest for Palestine

After suspending and evicting students and ordering the repression of a student occupation, Columbia University has become the ground zero for attacks against the pro-Palestine movement. What happens at Columbia in the coming days has implications for our basic democratic rights, such as the right to protest.

Maryam Alaniz

April 19, 2024
NYPD officers load Pro-Palestine protesters at Columbia onto police buses

Student Workers of Columbia Union Call for Solidarity Against Repression and in Defense of the Right to Protest

In response to the suspensions and arrests of students at Columbia, the Student Workers of Columbia is circulating a call for solidarity against the repression. We re-publish their statement here and urge organizations, unions, and intellectuals to sign.

Several police officers surrounded a car caravan

Detroit Police Escalate Repression of Pro-Palestinian Protests

On April 15, Detroit Police cracked down on a pro-Palestine car caravan. This show of force was a message to protestors and an attempt to slow the momentum of the movement by intimidating people off the street and tying them up in court.

Brian H. Silverstein

April 18, 2024

MOST RECENT

A mash-up of Macron over a palestinian flag and articles detailing the rising repression

Against the Criminalization of Opinion and in Defense of Our Right to Support Palestine: We Must Stand Up!

In France, the repression of Palestine supporters is escalating. A conference by La France Insoumise (LFI) has been banned; a union leader has been arrested and charged for speaking out for Palestine; court cases have increased against those who “condone terrorism”; and the state has stepped up its “anti-terrorism” efforts. In the face of all this, we must stand together.

Nathan Deas

April 23, 2024
SEIU Local 500 marching for Palestine in Washington DC. (Photo: Purple Up for Palestine)

Dispatches from Labor Notes: Labor Activists are Uniting for Palestine. Democrats Want to Divide Them

On the first day of the Labor Notes conference, conference attendees held a pro-Palestine rally that was repressed by the local police. As attendees were arrested outside, Chicago Mayor — and Top Chicago Cop — Brandon Johnson spoke inside.

Left Voice

April 20, 2024
A tent encampment at Columbia University decorated with two signs that say "Liberated Zone" and "Gaza Solidarity Encampment"

Dispatches from Labor Notes 2024: Solidarity with Columbia Students Against Repression

The Labor Notes Conference this year takes place right after over 100 students were arrested at Columbia for protesting for Palestine. We must use this conference to build a strong campaign against the repression which will impact us all if it is allowed to stand.

Olivia Wood

April 20, 2024

Occupy Against the Occupation: Protest Camp in Front of Germany’s Parliament

Since Monday, April 8, pro-Palestinian activists have been braving Germany's bleak climate — both meteorological and political — to protest the Israeli genocide in Gaza, and the unconditional German support for it. 

Erik de Jong

April 20, 2024