Photo: US President Donald Trump has stepped up his reactionary immigration policies in an attempt to boost his reelection campaign
By Nélida Tello
The Trump administration announced last Friday that it is moving to reject visa applications from immigrants who cannot prove that they have healthcare insurance or that they will be able to pay healthcare costs starting November 3. This followed the introduction of another new fascist border policy that seeks to gather genetic information on immigrants.
Immigrant applicants will be required to have insurance within a month of their arrival, or prove they have the means to afford “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” The presidential proclamation lacked a clear definition for the threshold for healthcare costs. In an effort to restrict low-income immigrants from entering the US, the proclamation excludes subsidized healthcare insurance such as Obamacare (through the Affordable Care Act) and state-based Medicaid coverage.
The Affordable Care Act affords low-income immigrants medical subsidies, but the proclamation would automatically disqualify immigrant applicants if they are suspected of relying on public assistance. The Trump administration offsets US imperialism’s deepening crisis by scapegoating immigrants, making them out to be economic burdens on the government and its citizens. The proclamation claimed that medical costs “are passed on to the American people in the form of higher taxes, higher premiums, and higher fees for medical services.”
The presidential proclamation followed the Trump administration’s amendment to the definition of public charge, announced back in August. The public charge rule is primarily tasked with denying residency green cards to immigrants on public assistance such as government housing, medical subsidies, and food stamps. Immigrants who have received public assistance for 12 months within a three-year period will be denied residency green cards. The public charge rule is set to go into effect October 15.
Last Wednesday, the Trump administration announced a regulation which will authorize Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to collect the DNA of migrants in custody. The data collected will be used to further identify migrants, and their information will be stored in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) database, Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
The new regulation will do away with the limitations imposed by former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, under the Obama administration. The limitations restricted DNA collection to only those detained on criminal charges or in the process of removal. The DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, which allows federal agencies to collect DNA samples from any and all individuals in their custody, is the precedent for this “popular surveillance” regulation.
This latest targeting of immigrants has less to do with border security and more to do with Trump’s reelection campaign. Trump’s current approval ratings rest almost entirely on the growth of the economy, but the risk of the next recession looms as the trade war with social-imperialist China comes to a head. To hedge his bets, Trump is doubling down on his anti-immigrant politics to rally the most backward of the masses to his cause.
Trump is more than willing to impose fascist measures like the DNA collection regulation to pursue his electoral aims. The conditions created by imperialism compel him to take these fascist shortcuts to gain an advantage on his political opponents. The Democrats share the same electoral ambitions, and like Trump, they are willing to court fascism’s twin to get ahead – social democracy.
In the end, it is the conditions of imperialism that must be changed, those that force migrants to flee their home countries and bourgeois politicians to rely more and more on fascism to stay in power.