Socialist Alternative

Border Deal Shows The Crisis Facing Both Democrats & Republicans

Published on

Congress has been in a gridlock for most of February over the border deal that almost was, highlighting just how incapable the bosses’ two parties can be at pushing their own agendas. What’s at stake for them includes immigration reform measures, military aid for the war in Ukraine, the bolstering of Taiwan in the face of Chinese imperialism, and financial support for the Israeli state’s massacre in Gaza. All of these proposals should be opposed by working people. If only temporarily, the parties of the ruling class are doing the work of stopping this bill for us as a result of their own crisis.

The trouble for them began over disagreements over how US imperialism should posture in the new cold war with Chinese capitalism. The Biden administration has invested heavily in the Ukraine war, seeing it as an opportunity to weaken Putin, one of China’s key allies. A section of the right wing is cynically posing as anti-war through their opposition to military funding to Ukraine, but they are doing this because they would prefer US imperialism to focus on directly confronting China. With no solutions to problems like the economy, the GOP is leaning hard on the migrant crisis as a wedge issue for the next elections. For a moment, Biden and the Senate thought they had arrived at a deal: the right wing would allow money to increase by the billions to US allies around the world, in exchange for strong measures at the border.

The road to the deal almost seemed clear, but Trump stepped in at the eleventh hour to blow it all out of the water. He saw it as completely unacceptable to let the Biden administration win any kind of deal, even with major concessions, when he can hammer Biden over immigration for the next eight months. The power that Trump, a man who currently does not hold any office, has over his party was made clear when even Mitch McConnell voted against this very bill he helped develop. The situation has once again showcased the divides in the Republican Party, and the profoundly weakened position of the party’s former establishment. Figures like McConnell can look towards compromise to keep the political machine in operation, but they have been halted and time and again are pulled along by the Trump wing. Regardless of the Republican dysfunction, Democrats have also suffered political damage.

Democrats Accommodate The Right

The Democrats have bent over backwards to accommodate their colleagues on the right, turning further away from their own empty lip service on immigration. In 2020, Biden made promises on the campaign trail to reverse course on Trump-era immigration policy. He was clear at the time that he would not stand for expanding the border wall or imposing daily limits on the number of asylum seekers accepted at the border. 

Yet, four years later, Biden was forcefully backing the latest Congressional border package that sought exactly that. The deal would have turned away almost 90% of daily asylum seekers through imposed limits during border emergencies. It would have also added holding facilities, border agents, and DNA collection from migrants.

This is not the first time that the Democrats have made it clear that they are no friends to immigrants and asylum seekers. Biden broke his promise not to expand the border wall last year when he pushed forward with twenty miles of construction along the Texas border. Earlier that year, he essentially renewed Trump’s COVID-era immigration policy that gave border patrol authority to turn away asylum seekers. This latest border deal attempt is a culmination of the Democrats’ rotten, right-wing immigration policy. Immigration activists feel rightfully angered and betrayed by the “lesser of two evils.” 

As immigrants and American-born workers face the effects of mass migration, we should never forget the role that Joe Biden and his party have played in creating the kind of instability, inequality, and war that have led directly to this situation. US imperialism has for the better part of a century been the biggest factor driving down living conditions for billions of people. These problems have only accelerated with its new cold war against Chinese imperialism. US imperialism is a bipartisan project, but for at least the rest of the year, the Democratic Party has their hands on the wheel of this deadly machine.

Rotten To Its Core

While the crisis facing both Congress itself and the two major parties shows the difficulty the ruling class has in charting a path forward in these disordered times, they will dust themselves off and regroup. Deep dysfunction is characteristic of this government. Just think back to the fifteen votes needed to elect a Speaker of the House and the standoff over last year’s potential government shutdown. Still, the billionaires and the bosses will not back down on fighting to defend their interests. In spite of the infighting, the US government continued to throw its weight around internationally and extend attacks on immigrants. At the time of writing, the Senate package that passed is struggling to be seen in the House, but representatives are continuing to propose alternate bills that address the same issues.

This system and its representatives are absolutely rotten to their core. We do need comprehensive immigration changes, but not in the way that politicians on either side of the aisle are proposing. We need legalization and equal rights for undocumented people, an end to deportation, and accommodation for asylum seekers. The capitalist system seeks to divide our class along different lines such as nationality or immigration status. Fighting against the attacks on immigrants would actually strengthen our class overall, especially when connected to demands for funding permanently affordable housing, social spending, and good union jobs to address so many of the issues currently being pinned on migrants. These programs could be funded by the money that has gone towards record profits for the rich over the past few years while the rest of us have struggled with the cost of living.

We also need mass protests against right-wing immigration policy and against imperialism. The US ruling class drives migration by its profit-driven devastation of the economies of countries around the world. Mass migration, along with the massacre in Gaza and the war in Ukraine are ultimately class issues, throwing the working masses into crisis around the globe, and addressing them will require political independence for working people: a new party of our own to stand up against the corporate Democrats and Republicans. It will also require an international mass movement rooted in the drive for socialist change to be able to strike back against this system. The ruling parties are showing their cracks in how they address the different challenges they face today, but the most important missing element is a confidently and independently led movement of workers, the poor, and the oppressed against their injustice.

Latest articles


Baltimore Bridge Collapse Kills 6, Shipping Industry to Blame

On March 26, the Dali, a container ship leased by shipping giant Maersk headed for Sri Lanka, lost all power while still in the...

‘Progressive’ Mayor Evicts Migrants & Boosts Corporate Profits

Hours after completion of the drunken revelry of Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, city officials began implementing the eviction of migrants from city-...

The Two-Party System Is Killing Us – Can We Build An Alternative?

Statistically speaking, you’re not excited about the 2024 Presidential election. According to a new poll, 59% of registered voters have little or no enthusiasm about...

Hundreds Of Thousands Vote “Uncommitted” In Democratic Primaries

Joe Biden’s complicity in the murderous bombing and invasion of Gaza is costing him hundreds of thousands of votes in the primaries. Who is his...