The Republican presidential candidates are now vying with each other to see who can bash immigrants the hardest. Those who in the past have appeared more pro-immigrant are now jumping on the bashing bandwagon. In 1994, Rudy Giuliani said that undocumented immigrants were an asset to New York City. Now he says he would have deported them all if he could have. Mike Huckabee used to talk about giving undocumented students a break, but his latest position paper is fiercely anti-immigrant. Ron Paul would end the citizenship of U.S.-born children of the undocumented. And the same thing is happening at the level of congressional races, with some Democrats caving into the hysteria.

That the Republicans do this is not surprising. After all, what does the GOP have to show to the electorate after two terms in the White House?

But using immigrants as the collective scapegoat for the Bush administration’s (and capitalism’s) crimes is extremely dangerous. It actually helps those corporate sectors that exploit immigrant workers because it pushes them deeper into the underground economy. With its mass deportations, the Bush administration contributes mightily to this atmosphere of terror.

Workers and progressive people of all races, both immigrants and U.S.-born, must raise our voices and demand an end to this anti-immigrant demagogy. We must encourage all, whether Democrat, Republican or independent, to speak out in support of a humane immigration reform which legalizes the undocumented and expands the rights of all working people.