Immigration is an inherently intersectional issue, affecting people of any background. That is not to say that people of differing backgrounds receive the same treatment,29 but rather that the struggle for liberation in the immigrant rights movement is inherently tied to other struggles for liberation, including the Movement for Black Lives and the movement to defund the police.30 The movements for abolition of the police, prisons, ICE, and immigrant detention are inherently intertwined.31 ICE and CBP operations mirror those of the U.S. police in many ways, including in the prevalence of abuses committed against people in their custody, the targeting of Black and Brown people, and the huge quantity of taxpayer money put towards these militarized systems of oppression that could otherwise be used to support community services. Furthermore, multiple organizations focused on Black liberation explicitly identify the end of immigrant detention as a policy demand.32 Ending family detention minimizes harm wrought against multiple communities at the hands of the U.S government, and insofar as multiple movements for liberation call for abolition of detention, family detention is an obvious immediate target.
The unique role the United States has played in contributing to the root causes of immigration from Latin America must also be acknowledged. The violence immigrants flee, particularly in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, is rooted in U.S. intervention and exploitation. The United States backed military coups and dictatorships that committed massacres and other atrocities against innocent civilians, including genocide like the mass physical and sexual violence attempted against the Maya in Guatemala. The impunity Central America struggles with today is largely rooted in these years of violence. The present narrative surrounding immigration is egregiously estranged from the reality of the United States’ history in Latin America; in March, 2019, the president cut off about $500 million in aid to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
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