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(en) US, California, The dawn* #3 - Immigrants and the Terror of the Militarized Border - by Mei Lingg

From <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>(Erik egh-A-the-dawn.org)
Date Tue, 14 Sep 2004 10:20:21 +0200 (CEST)

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In early August, five unnamed people died of dehydration
in southern Arizona’s scorching desert, after illegally
crossing the militarized U.S./Mexico border. This is not an
uncommon occurrence. One hundred and fifteen immigrants
have been found dead in the remote desert since last
October. Federal actions such as Operation Gatekeeper,
which has almost sealed off California’s border with
Mexico, has pushed immigrants to take extremely dangerous
routes through southwestern deserts.

If the one hundred-degree heat does not kill, Latino
immigrants also face the danger of racist vigilante
groups – armed thugs who patrol the border because they
fear the “invasion” and conquest of the southwest by
Mexicans or believe the Bush administration has failed
to protect them from immigrant terrorists. They round
up groups of undocumented border crossers at gunpoint,
place them under citizen’s arrest, and eventually turn
them over to the U.S. Border Patrol. Some immigrants
have been abused and others even killed. For instance,
in 2000 Miguel Angel Palafox, a 20-year-old migrant,
was shot in the neck by two horsemen dressed in black
who attacked him near the border town of Sasabe, about
50 miles east of Cochise County. Palafox tied a t-shirt
around his wound and crawled back to Mexico. He luckily
survived, though the riders remain unknown. In another
incident, two undocumented immigrants were found shot
to death by a roadside near the small town of Red Rock,
between Tucson and Phoenix, in October 2002. Manuel Ortega,
a spokesman for the Mexican Consulate in Tucson, says the
two victims were part of a group of 12 migrants resting
around a pond south of the town. One of the survivors
of the group told Ortega that two masked men dressed in
camouflage and armed with machine guns appeared from the
woods, firing upon the group and killing the two before the
others scattered. The local sheriff’s office is treating
the killings as a dispute between rival people smugglers
and has not investigated vigilante groups in the area.

While community members and human rights organizations have
repeatedly demanded that legal authorities put a stop to
these hate groups, state and federal governments remain
inactive. Considering that vigilante group membership
consists partly of retired military, INS, and police
officers, it is not difficult to see why. Chris Simcox
of the Civil Homeland Defense militia has even challenged
the government to a fight. “I dare the president of the
United States to arrest Americans who are protecting their
own country,” Simcox said in comments carried by the
Washington Times in 2003. “We will no longer tolerate the
ineptness of the government in dealing with these criminals
and drug dealers. It is a monumental disgrace that our
government is letting the American people down, turning us
into the expendable casualties of the war on terrorism.”

The American Border Patrol, organized by conservative
California radio talk show host Glen Spencer, is so
extremely right wing that they even consider President
Bush a liberal traitor because of his latest proposal for
immigration reform. Last January, Bush announced his plan,
which he feels “will make America a more compassionate
and more humane and stronger country.” His proposal gives
undocumented workers temporary legal status at least for
three years. Like the Bracero program in decades past,
a percentage of a worker’s wages are held until they
permanently return to Mexico. (The braceros never received
these wages.)

Bush’s plans are just another act of racist
legislation which has historically provided America with
a legalized underclass of workers. Indentured servitude,
African slavery, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Bracero
program…the list goes on and on. Capitalism depends on
an underclass to serve as cheap labor. How do you think
profits are made? The U.S. agriculture industry and other
sectors of the economy rely heavily on the labor of migrant
Latino workers.

Under Bush’s proposal these workers are at the mercy
of their employers. Without permanent resident status,
they are threatened with deportation if they are without
work. His proposal also makes it difficult for unionization
efforts, because of the continuous revolving work force.

As anarchists we stand in solidarity with these men and
women, who, because of capitalism's nature and government
legislation are not given enough opportunities in their
homeland, and are therefore tempted to risk their lives
to provide more for themselves and their families. Open
the borders! Abolish government which keep the cogs of
capitalism turning!
>From The Dawn, September 2004
* [Ed. note: The Dawn is an anarcho-communist journal]

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