Biden calls on Trump to “join me” in waging war on immigrants

Joe Biden’s extraordinary appeal to ex-President Donald Trump on Thursday in an appearance at the US-Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas, in which he called on the Republican presidential front-runner to “join me” in a bipartisan war on immigrants, is the latest confirmation of the thoroughly reactionary character of the entire political establishment.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks during a visit to the southern border, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Brownsville, Texas. With the President from left are, Brownsville Mayor John Cowen, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas. [AP Photo/Evan Vucci]

It shatters the pretense of the Democratic Party and the Biden campaign to be defenders of democracy against Trump and his fascistic MAGA movement. Biden followed his appeal for unity with Trump with a call for House Republicans to authorize another $60 billion for Washington’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.

Calling his anti-immigrant bill, passed by the Senate but stalled in the House, “the toughest, most efficient, most effective border security bill this country has ever seen,” Biden said:

I understand my predecessor is in Eagle Pass today, so here is what I would say to Mr. Trump. Instead of playing politics with this issue, instead of telling members of Congress to block this legislation, join me. Or I will join you in telling the Congress to pass this bipartisan border security bill.

This came only minutes after Trump, in an appearance in Eagle Pass, Texas, promoted the unconstitutional usurpation of federal authority over the border by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Trump used his border visit to repeat his claim that Biden was complicit in an immigrant “invasion” on the Southern border by “vermin,” who were “poisoning the blood” of the American people. Trump graphically recounted several recent rapes and murders allegedly committed by immigrants to incite neo-Nazi adherents of the antisemitic “Great Replacement Theory.”

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump walks during a visit to Shelby Park on the U.S.-Mexico border, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Eagle Pass, Texas. At front left is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. [AP Photo/Eric Gay]

In his border speech, Biden made no mention of the more than 850 migrants who died attempting to cross the US-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022. The figure marks the deadliest year for migrants crossing into the US, according to the Border Patrol.

Instead, Biden adopted Trump’s anti-immigrant talking points, saying, “We can’t wait any longer” to “secure” the border.

The “border security bill” Biden is pleading for Trump to support would virtually eliminate the right of immigrants to claim asylum in the US. It would greatly expand immigrant detention facilities and the border police and grant presidents unprecedented executive authority to shut down ports of entry. This massive assault on democratic rights will inevitably be used to target the working class as a whole.

Already, in fact, the Biden administration is supporting a bipartisan McCarthyite-style witch-hunt against students, workers and public figures who denounce the genocide in Gaza and US complicity in Israeli war crimes. They are being slandered as “antisemites” and banned from campus life or fired from their positions.

In endorsing the legislation, the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal described it in February as “the most restrictive migrant legislation in decades.” The Journal observed that it contained “nothing for nearly all of the Dreamers who were brought here ... as children, no general pathway to citizenship or green cards.”

Less than two months ago, on January 5, Biden launched his reelection campaign outside of Valley Forge, Pennsylvania—the historic encampment site of the Continental Army during the winter of 1777-1778—calling on Americans to support his campaign in order to save democracy from the singular threat posed by ex-President Trump.

In his January remarks, Biden proclaimed that “democracy” and “freedom” were “on the ballot” and that he and the Democratic Party were the only things standing between “American democracy” and dictatorship. He said:

Today, I make this sacred pledge to you. The defense, protection and preservation of American democracy will remain as it has been the central cause of my presidency.

In response, the WSWS wrote:

The “central cause” of Biden’s presidency has been the expansion of imperialist war. Even as he spoke, his Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was on his way to the Middle East to coordinate the ongoing US-Israeli genocide in Gaza and the expansion of the war into Lebanon, Yemen and Iran...

Washington is simultaneously escalating its proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, despite the growing risk of a nuclear conflict. In a bid to obtain Republican support for an additional $61.4 billion for arms to Ukraine, Biden is offering to effectively abolish the democratic right of migrants to claim asylum and adopt Trump’s fascistic policy of mass deportations and detentions.

In now making a direct appeal to Trump, Biden is doing two things. First, he hopes to reach an accommodation with the Republicans, entirely on their terms, which would allow Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson to bring to the floor a previously negotiated $95 billion military package that includes over $60 billion for the US-NATO war against Russia and another $15 billion for the Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign in Gaza.

Second, he is seeking to outflank Trump on the immigration issue, arguing that Trump is to blame for the “broken border” because he refuses to support anti-immigrant legislation in order to boost his electoral chances in November.

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Responding to Biden’s plea to work with Trump to attack immigrants, Socialist Equality Party candidate for US president Joseph Kishore issued a statement on Twitter/X Friday that read, in part:

For all their talk of defending “democracy,” Biden and the Democrats will accept the Republicans’ entire fascistic attack on immigrants in exchange for bipartisan support for the US-NATO war against Russia over Ukraine, which risks nuclear annihilation. That’s why the Democrats worked to cover up the fascistic coup of January 6 and why Biden insisted on the need for a “strong” Republican Party. The Democrats and Republicans represent two reactionary factions of the capitalist oligarchy...

Biden’s embrace of the Republicans’ attack on immigrants exposes all of those, like [Democratic Socialists of America member] Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who claimed that supporting the Democrats was necessary to protect immigrants. Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA denounced socialist opposition to Biden as “privileged.” In reality, the DSA is nothing more than an appendage of the Democratic Party.

Biden’s adoption of the fascistic anti-immigrant policy of Trump underscores that the defense of the democratic rights of the working class requires a break with the Democratic Party and the building of an independent socialist movement of the working class against the capitalist system.