Since 1986, there has not been another federal immigration reform policy that has legalized the status of the undocumented migrants living and working inside the United States. Instead, there has been only criminalization and punitive measures. From the administrations of Bill Clinton to Donald Trump, and now that of Joe Biden, there has been a bipartisan continuity of the “enforcement-only approach,” which has corresponded with capital's increased reliance and preference for non-citizen labor. The abandonment of inclusive citizenship and rights-based immigration reform in favor of restrictive measures allows for capitalists to increase capital accumulation through greater exploitation of migrant workers. Working backwards from this process shows how this method of labor procurement and exploitation extends from the roots of imperialist expansionism abroad: the imposition of free-trade agreements and economic displacement, regional militarization, and the regulation and criminalization of cross-border migration. Because of these factors, it has become apparent that prospects for citizenship and rights-based reform will not likely be advanced electorally within the current configuration of party politics in the United States, and has therefore shifted to different forms of class struggle in workplaces and communities across the country.
Chacón, J.A. (2022), "Immigration Politics from Trump to Biden: The End of Reform and the Growth of Class Struggle", Young, K.A., Schwartz, M. and Lachmann, R. (Ed.) Trump and the Deeper Crisis (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 39), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 83-106. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0198-871920220000039006
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