New York, NY – The state-sponsored kidnapping of more than 2,300 children at the U.S. border and ICE’s massive raid on three Fresh Mark meat-processing plants in Ohio have compelled some union leaders to call out the racist-in-chief’s latest assaults on the America soul for the existential threat they are — but if Organized Labor is to play a meaningful role in efforts to avert the nation’s further decent into outright fascism, they’re going to have to do a lot better than that.
On June 15, as the nation reeled with images of immigrant kids ripped from their families, 1199SEIU President George Gresham put Donald Trump’s latest intolerable act in its proper context.
“We live in a nation with a rich heritage and history,” Gresham said in a statement. “Unfortunately, another aspect of this history includes separating families – specifically children from their parents. In the 1700s and 1800s slave children were ripped from their parents on auction blocks and plantations, and in the 1940’s it was at Japanese internment camps. Now, in 2018 we have come full circle, allowing immigrant children to be ripped from their parents’ arms and thrown into detention centers like criminals.”
Earlier this week, Trump-directed ICE agents from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement stepped up their assault on working men and women with the arrests of 140 employees at three Fresh Mark meat processing plants in Ohio.
RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum expressed his outrage in a statement denouncing the sweeps this way: “[One-hundred-and-forty] people couldn’t go home to their families last night, and their children were left on their own to fend for themselves – that is unconscionable. Yesterday, Donald Trump sent in ICE agents to separate hard working immigrant families in an egregious show of force. Our union is a union of hard working people, which includes immigrants; and we stand with all immigrant workers, who are trying to support their families and better their lives.”
The RWDSU head’s further declaration that the 100,000-member union “will not stand for violence against immigrants; we will not stand for tearing families apart and we will not stand for the terrifying tactics of the Trump Administration,” is exactly the kind of defiant tone that must be put into peaceful, non-violent action.
In the 1700s and 1800s slave children were ripped from their parents on auction blocks and plantations, and in the 1940’s it was at Japanese internment camps. Now, in 2018 we have come full circle — 1199SEIU President George Gresham
This week, the public learned that the obscenely-named Department of Health and Human Services is busily gearing up to house 20,000 immigrant children at military installations located throughout the country.
Those military bases are this generation’s interment camps. Undocumented immigrant children and their families are this generation’s Afro-American slaves, Native-American tribes, Japanese-American prisoners and European Jews. And the responsibility to help avert comparable disasters largely rests on the shoulders of working men and women opposed to Trump.
It’s been coming at least since Trump descended down that escalator and branded Mexican immigrants as “rapists” in 2015. Everything Donald Trump and his minions have done since then has been the realization of that hateful, stupid rhetoric.
Labor attorney and LaborPress columnist Larry Cary wrote this in June, 2016: “Some people say Donald Trump won’t be so bad if elected because he won’t keep the promises he made during his primary campaign to build a wall with Mexico, round up 11,000,000 undocumented workers and their families for deportation, halt all Muslim immigration, and require the 2.5 million Muslim-Americans living in this country to register and be subjected to intrusive government scrutiny. I think these people are wrong. Donald Trump will try to do exactly what he has said he will do…”
Whether or not you believe that Donald Trump will ultimately be successful executing his full dictatorial agenda, the damage he’s already done — from superheating the flames of enduring racist hatred, to destroying the lives of at least 2,300 innocent children — is undeniable.
Donald Trump will try to do exactly what he has said he will do. It has been happening, and continues to happen, right before our eyes. Organized Labor, with or without, bold leadership at the top, can help put a stop to it.