July 19, 2018


The Trump Administration instituted their “zero-tolerance policy” that criminalizes immigration and prosecutes anyone who attempts to cross the border illegally, in hopes to “establish lawfulness” in the immigration system. This means that adults, including asylum seekers running from violence and poverty, are criminally detained then deported. Since then, they have escalated their policies to separate children from their families without a clear and efficient system that would reunite them once criminal proceedings are over. As a result, more than 2,300 minors have been separated from accompanying adults. New Students for a Democratic Society rejects this xenophobic approach to immigration, and we demand the reunion of these families and legalization for all 12 million undocumented immigrants.

After significant push back from people all over the country in the form of protests and media coverage, President Trump signed an executive order that continues to criminally prosecute every person who crosses the border but will allow children to be detained along with their parents on June 20th. This was portrayed as a victory by the media but there is no language detailing how the Department of Homeland Security intends to reunite the children already separated. In fact, all evidence points to the DHS, border enforcement, and ICE detaining both parents and children from now on.

Furthermore, it does not address the root problem: the zero-tolerance policy that criminalizes the poor and vulnerable, and keeps them detained and awaiting trial so that the White House can justify racist laws and discrimination. Additionally, child welfare service companies and private contractors make profit off these detentions.

The Trump administration say that separations and deportations must happen because immigrants cost the US more than they bring in. But this is a lie. Undocumented immigrants do untold, massive amounts of labor in horrible conditions, and big business owners - like the ones who support Trump - reap the profits. By keeping immigrants' status in flux and criminalizing immigration, employers continue these atrocities without accountability. Long-time guest worker programs force undocumented Central American immigrants to work for poverty wages, typically through the H-2b guest worker visas, on farms or "under the table" in restaurants, resorts, or hotels. Many are forced into domestic servitude or work long hours cleaning houses, being poisoned by toxic chemicals. They are not paid as much as other workers, they cannot receive benefits or fair hours, and they cannot receive legal protections from horrific exploitation, abuse, and sexual assault. Ironically, the DHS expanded the H-2B visa program in 2017 while restricting other diversity visas like the H-1B.
Meanwhile, vulture private contractors receive a cut of the pie. Microsoft has a contract with ICE in order to modernize their tracking technology. Private prison corporations like GeoGroup and Corrections Corporation of America benefit from ICE bed mandates, that require 34,000 detention beds to be available every day. This profitability incentivizes these corporations to lobby for harsher immigration reform, as evident from reports of CCA spending $10,560,000 in quarters where they lobbied on issues related to immigrant detention and immigration reform between 2008 and 2014. Child welfare companies also saw their profits soar from the housing and transportation of these separated children. Much of this includes grant money directly from the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Profits have gone from 74.5 million dollars in 2007 to 958 million in 2017. The program Southwest Key alone has received $1.39 billion in grant funding from the federal government to house the detained children, but were exposed recently for keeping children locked in cages.

On June 26th, a California federal judge ordered the reunion of all minors under 5 years of age to their guardian within 14 days and all minors to be reunited within 30 days. SDS supports this ruling and calls for legalization for all 12 million undocumented immigrants. We want undocumented people to have the ability to drive, purchase housing, go to court to defend themselves against nightmare employers, and to work free of those guest worker programs that perpetuate nightmare conditions. We want the reinstitution of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, to continue the education of hundreds of thousands of youth regardless of their immigration status.

We call for a greater opposition to the zero-tolerance policy by the people. This system creates more harm and gives powerful corporations a vested interest in maintaining it additionally calls for greater opposition to the zero-tolerance policy by the people. This system creates more harm and gives powerful corporations a vested interest in maintaining it.

As SDS, we say:

Legalization For All!
Families Belong Together!
End the Deportations!

#nodeportations #legalizationforall #endchilddetention #endfamilydetention #abolishice