The White House recently announced that there is a crisis at the U.S-Mexico border and declared a state of National Emergency. The declaration invoked the use of military reserves and redirects $3.5 billion in funds from the Defense budget to construct a wall.
The wall is also going to receive $2.5 billion in funding from the Department of Defense drug interdiction program and $600 million from the Treasury department’s drug forfeiture program.
Trump has made claims that immigration on the southwest border constitutes a national emergency due to the influx of narcotics and crime.
According to the DEA, the majority of opioids coming into the country arrive through legal points of entry. Only “a small percentage of all heroin seized by CBP (Customs & Border Patrol) along the land border was between ports of entry.
Building a border wall on the southwest border would not affect the flow of drugs through legal points of entry.
With respect to Trump’s claims about illegal immigrants and crime, statistics undermine the President’s claim. Non-violent crimes are actually negatively correlated with illegal immigrant populations.
Likewise, data for incarcerations suggests a similar trend. The incarceration rate for native-born Americans was 1,521 per 100,000, 800 per 100,000 for illegal immigrants, and 325 per 100,000 for legal immigrants in 2016.
The declaration of a National Emergency is merely an attempt to redirect the anger of the working class onto immigration populations who work and contribute to our society. The Trump administration is filled with representative of finance capital, corporate interests, and bureaucratic elements of the bourgeois class.
It is in the interest of these people to redirect the criticism from wage stagnation, poverty, and a lack of basic entitlements such as health care and affordable education, off the capitalist class as a whole.
The problem of poverty is a problem endemic to the capitalist economic system. The state is an apparatus through which the ruling class can dominate over the mass of workers. As the capitalist class lives off profit generated by the working class, they benefit from the current economic formation, namely, capitalism. Criticisms which should be attributed to the capitalist system are redirected towards another group, immigrants.
Directives such as the National Emergency by the Trump administration are using billions of dollars at the expense of the working class to build a border wall.
The problem lies with the capitalist system, and specifically the failure to resolve fundamental issues of the mass of people.