FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reference, Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB / Pro-People Youth)
LOS ANGELES, CA – June 21, 2018 – Kabataang maka-Bayan, Los Angeles (KmB / Pro-People Youth LA) condemns the zero-tolerance policy on immigration implemented by Trump’s administration. As a progressive Pilipinx-American youth organization dedicated to raising the next generation’s social consciousness through education and organization, we stand in solidarity with the children and families affected by this racist policy.
On May 7, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thomas Homan announced that the Trump Administration would enforce a policy of zero-tolerance policy, in which the Border Patrol will refer all people caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico borders without proper documentation to the Department of Justice, where they will be met with a charge of a misdemeanor of illegal entry. Those being charged includes people who are seeking asylum from persecution, although they are legally able to do so. In this process, the adults of migrant families are placed in criminal custody, leaving their children such that they will become “unaccompanied minors” as if they had crossed by themselves. Once designated as unaccompanied minors, these children are then transferred to the custody of a separate entity, the Department of Health and Human Services.
This policy has resulted in the separation of at least 2,300 children from their parents within the almost two months of enforcement. After outcry from the public and media, on June 20th, 2018, Trump signed Executive Order 13841 which aims to reunify families, which would not have been necessary if the zero-tolerance policy were not instated in the first place. News has also surfaced of the inhumane conditions of the detention centers, especially for the children, and that families will only be reunited after signing an agreement that they will be deported. As the situation continues to unravel, we remain vigilant in our solidarity with the people.
As evidenced by history, the ruling class enacts immigration policies at the behest of capitalistic greed. Once welcome as U.S. nationals (a “benefit” for being a U.S. territory), Filipinos experienced unrestricted immigration, providing the booming economy of the Industrial Age with a fresh pool of migrant workers. Then came the Great Depression due to the elite’s reckless spending and overspeculation, and Filipinos were lumped into Asian exclusion policy, as seen in the Immigration Act of 1924. Anti-Filipino sentiments continued with the passing of the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934 and the Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935, both of which halted family reunification.
The recent events serve as another example of the revolving door complex in which the needs of the empire dictate the treatment of people in need of asylum. Families facing harsh realities of a destabilized economy (caused by that empire) are lured by the promises of democracy only to be pushed out at the whim of economy as pawns of capitalism. Families are then forced to separate and endure political bureaucratic trauma with the high possibility to only return to the harsh realities from which they were trying to escape.
We demand the reunification of all separated youth, an end to the incarceration of families, and the closing of all detention centers. Youth should not be subject to the inhumane treatment they are receiving in the detention facilities, yielding to trauma they will carry into adulthood. All families have a right to dignity and freedom, regardless of immigration status or potential for “productivity.” People are worth more than just their labor.
We demand that the Department of Homeland Security, and subsequently ICE, as an institution be dismantled. The very creation of this agency was the result of fear-mongering and rampant Islamophobia following the events of September 11, 2001. Its mission is to supposedly “safeguard the American people,” but it has, in reality, become a violent arm of the state reinforcing socially constructed borders on stolen land.
We demand amnesty for all immigrants. The creation of our world’s borders were the result of imperialist oppressors dividing the world for their exploitation. These borders are today’s reminders of a delayed immigration process that forces families to survive at all costs. No human being is illegal. No family deserves incarceration at the expense of existence.