Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Is Anti-Immigrant & Anti-Indigenous
Comprehensive Immigration Reform is inherently anti-immigrant. It is presented as a “path to citizenship” and as a temporary solution to halting the incarceration/deportation of some migrants, but it is actually an attack in disguise. The reform package known as Senate Bill S.744 is a blatant plot to further immobilize, mold, and reduce the lives of migrants. Comprehensive Immigration Reform, otherwise known as “CIR”, is not about restoring the dignity and human rights of migrants. It is, however, an opportunity to reinforce white supremacy, the rule of law; racist/imperial borders; free trade and exploitable labor from the global south, and will further invisibilize the existence of Indigenous/First Nations peoples living in and around the so-called US/Mexico border, which at the time of its creation, bisected the homelands of four Indigenous tribes.
The title of Senate Bill S.744 is, “The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act”. The title makes it easy to infer the priority of the bill–border security. The policing/surveillance of the 1,933-mile colonial boundary called the US/Mexico border has grown exponentially in the last decade. Communities along this border have experienced the unrelenting infestation of increasingly abusive Border Patrol agents, aerial drones, in-land weaponized checkpoints during daily routines in their own neighborhoods, and increased freight traffic. In addition, despite the increased border security, people still die in the deserts of the border region, those migrating north from Mexico and Central America to flee economic and/or political injustice. This bill will continue to limit the freedom of movement for Indigenous peoples as the bill contains provisions for increased militarization of their homelands, and will thus continue shifting border crossers through the perilous deserts of Lipan Apache, Kickapoo, Tohono O’odham, and Yaqui homelands.
S.744 amplifies this deadly reality by calling for a “border surge” that will nearly double the number of Border Patrol agents from 21,000 to 40,000. Currently more than half of Border Patrol agents are raza, and with the call to double the number of agents, what does this do for solidarity in our communities other than further divide us? This “border surge” also calls for the completion of 700 miles of fencing on the border, putting the 96 miles of the Berlin Wall to shame. Additional amendments include a $3.2 billion high-tech border surveillance plan–including unmanned attack drones; infrared ground sensors; long-range thermal imaging cameras; an electronic employment verification program for all employers; and a visa entry/exit system at all air and seaports, in order to limit immigrants who overstay their visas. This is big business, massive federal contracts for defense firms and surveillance technology firms. Does this sound like the “path to citizenship” reform you’ve been hearing about?
S.744 is an attack that is playing out in covert ways with age-old divide and conquer tactics. The bill arbitrarily grants “a pathway to citizenship” with very little promise of actually acquiring citizenship due to a ridiculously long and arduous process of bureaucratic hoops that will be required for folks to jump through. This laborious process will actually force folks to out themselves as undocumented, which will in turn make it easier for the government to incarcerate and deport them rather than actually granting residency. It is a Catch-22 that the drafters of this bill surely had in mind, because when really have politicians ever had our gente’s liberation at heart? How can we push for integration into a system that already considers us disposable? Peep this; S.744 is designed to weed out those who the system views as undesirable migrants (those with trumped-up charges from the police state now labeled “criminals”, and day laborers) and to incorporate migrants they consider more desirable like academic scholars and others considered “highly skilled workers”. This bill is being sold as relief to all undocumented peoples, when in fact it will only help the few who have been deemed worthy by a mostly white legislative body. This creates a division amongst folks vying for citizenship and further divides our community, thus reinforcing white supremacy.
Read the rest at the link provided and discuss.