Militant Journalism

‘Immigrants are welcome here,’ San Diego protesters in solidarity with migrant caravan

Protesters march through San Ysidro. Photo by Marcos Perez

On March 13, the Party for Socialism and Liberation hosted a march and banner drop beginning at Larsen Field, in the San Ysidro neighborhood of San Diego, next to the Tijuana-San Diego border. Other organizations in attendance included Socialist Alternative, Immigrant Justice League, San Diego Sunrise Movement, ANSWER San Diego, and other supporters in the community.

The demonstration was held in solidarity with the migrant caravan making its way to the border through Mexico. Thousands of migrants are currently fleeing violence and persecution that are a direct result of U.S. intervention in Central America. 

Just miles from San Ysidro is the Otay Mesa Detention Center. The OMDC is the site where the first Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee died from COVID-19. 

Arantxa Calles leads chants. Photo by Marcos Perez

ICE detention centers are responsible for unjust and inhumane incarceration of immigrants and family separation practices. Arantxa Calles from ANSWER San Diego pointed out that the detention center had the biggest COVID-19 outbreak of all migrant concentration camps in the United States during the first wave of the pandemic last year, and has seen little relief since. Calles also explained how U.S. imperialist intervention in all parts of the world continues the bipartisan legacy of genocide against working-class migrants and refugees. Calles stated, “This is an artificial border, a colonized border created in 1819 meant to divide and conquer the people.” 

As cars drove by honking in support, Jose Cortes of PSL spoke in solidarity with migrants against the crimes against humanity carried out by the U.S. government which force people to flee their own countries in the first place. Cortes stated that U.S. imperialism is a bipartisan issue perpetuated by “Republican fear-mongering and xenophobic, nativist hate speech.” Cortes also pointed out that Democrats will enact free trade agreements with foreign countries that exploit people’s labor and destabilize countries — like the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993. 

Plenty of energy from the back of the march, too! Photo by Marcos Perez

After the initial rally concluded, participants marched along the streets from Larsen Field to the San Ysidro trolley station with signs that read, “Full rights for all immigrants” and “No one is illegal on stolen land.” A banner was put over a nearby freeway overpass, reading: “The People Demand Immigrant Rights, Nothing Less.” The demonstrators then made their way back to Larsen Field where the event concluded. 

Noting that Indigenous people have long moved freely throughout the Western Hemisphere, Jose Cortes pointed out: “We have been here for thousands of years, we will continue to be here. We all can contribute in many ways to create a better world.” 

Revolutionary and progressive people should defend the freedom of movement for all people fleeing the horrors of U.S. imperialism regardless of their documentation status. We will continue to organize for full democratic rights for all immigrants and refugees! 

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