Staging area for the Santa Teresa Border Wall Replacement project. Credit: Mani Albrecht

Some 400 activists, organizers and community members gathered near the New Mexico Port of Entry in Santa Teresa, N.M., on June 2. They were there to stand in solidarity with immigrants to oppose Trump’s racist wall and to demand an end to the militarization of the southern border. The event, named All Against the Wall, focused on reclaiming the borderland and honoring the migrants who have been killed trying to cross the border and those who have died at the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Custom and Border Protection. The event began with a moment of silence to honor Claudia Patricia Gómez González, a young indigenous woman from Guatemala who was murdered by a Border Patrol agent, and Roxsana Hernández, a transgender woman from Honduras who died in ICE custody.

The event was organized by the New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, the Southwest Environmental Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club. Each speaker focused attention on exposing the disastrous impact that the militarization of the border and construction of the wall will have on our communities, environment and wildlife.

“We must be the voice for the voiceless,” said Southwest Conservation Advocate Randy Serraglio of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We must speak for Claudia, for Roxsana, who were killed by Border Patrol, and for the jaguar and the ocelot, who cannot speak for themselves. We must fight for them.”

New Mexico’s southern border is home to Trump’s new border wall, where construction of the $73 million 18-foot bollard-style wall has already begun. It replaces roughly 20 miles of the old vehicle and pedestrian barriers that were already in place. The United States government has spent billions of taxpayer dollars on border security and militarization over the past few decades, and just like its military budget, it will only continue to grow. Instead of using this money to fund people’s needs like education, housing and access to adequate health care, we see once again that it will be used to expand U.S. domination at home and abroad.

“Make no mistake: this is not just Trump’s wall, this is the Koch brothers’ wall, this is the billionaire class’ wall, this is the ugly face of a capitalist system that devalues, destroys and discards everything that gets in the way of profit,” said Executive Director Kevin Bixby of the Southwest Environmental Center. The new wall will do nothing in the way of deterring immigrants from entering the country, but it will make it more dangerous.

The event concluded with song and dance by local artists and a march along the border wall to the construction site where protesters left flowers as a symbol of love and remembrance to those who have died at the hands of this country’s racist immigration policies.

These problems did not start with Trump, and they will not end with him. The Party for Socialism and Liberation demands an end to ICE and CBP’s racist policies and to the deportation and detention of innocent people, and we stand in solidarity with all immigrants. We know that it is precisely the actions of U.S. imperialism that create refugees and forces people to migrate in the first place. We won’t accept the scapegoating of immigrants that obfuscates the true nature of the ruling class and their racism, bigotry and oppression. Full rights for all immigrants now!