Skip to content
View Featured Image

Racist Asylum And Immigration Policy In The US And Canada

Above photo: Haitians deported from the U.S. recover their scattered belongs at Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. in 2021. Joseph Odelyn/AP.

Fears of an “invasion” at the border are nothing more than white supremacy being openly expressed.

It could not be otherwise in a settler colony created by migration from Europe. To millions of people the word American still refers to whites only.

In December 2023, the United States processed a record 300,000 asylum seekers at the southern border with Mexico. This wave of desperate people from throughout the Global South has created a political crisis for the Biden administration and for cities and states around the country which were unprepared for this influx. This huge increase reveals a broken immigration policy passed down from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. The pandemic era Title 42 expelled asylum seekers under the guise of addressing a public health emergency, required them to remain in Mexico, and denied them the right to request asylum. The result was a bottleneck of thousands of people hoping to have their cases heard. While the numbers remaining in Mexico grew, the U.S. continued its tradition of racist immigration policy which treats migrants from the Global South differently from white Europeans.

The U.S. and its neighbor Canada have both given preference to citizens of Ukraine. Russia’s 2022 Special Military Operation sent thousands of Ukrainians out of their country in search of safety from warfare. That fact isn’t unusual; wars always create displacement. Both the U.S. and its junior partner Canada have been responsible for huge waves of migration internationally with their policies of intervention and so-called wars against terrorism. It is seldom reported that U.S. led wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Libya displaced some 38 million people beginning in 2001. Those people in need of refuge were ignored because their suffering was a direct result of U.S., Canada and collective west actions.

Yet some asylum seekers are considered superior to others and that fact is never more clear than when the people in question are white and from Europe. Canada has already admitted 936,293 Ukrainians since 2022 and they are eligible for a full panoply of benefits including health care, housing and a direct path to permanent residency. An additional 90,000 are expected to arrive this month.

African asylum seekers are treated quite differently and sleep on the streets in Toronto and other cities until they can find shelter. In order to stop an influx of asylum seekers from Mexico, the Canadian government recently reinstated a visa requirement for Mexican travelers.

Canada has a long history of favoring Ukrainians in its immigration policies. After World War II members of Nazi collaborator SS units were actively recruited to emigrate to Canada, in part to oppose left wing union activism and to add a virulently anti-communist population. So great was the urgency that an SS tattoo provided a guarantee to entry when it should have been treated as a scarlet letter. Now a new crop of white and right wing Europeans have been given the red carpet treatment, thus killing two birds with one stone.

The U.S. has also admitted thousands of Ukrainians, more than 270,000 in the last two years, and modified its own rules by giving them extensions on what is supposed to be a temporary humanitarian parole program. Ukrainians get most favored immigrant status because the U.S. is waging a proxy war on their soil and because they are white – and thus are considered for just treatment. Others are just sent packing.

While right wing pundits speak of “invasions” from the border, the fortunate Ukrainians are never among those groups condemned for wanting to come in. Political theater is in effect instead of changes in immigration policy. Joe Biden and Donald Trump traveled to the Texas border on the very same day. Trump proved himself to be consistently racist as he sputtered and muttered about migrants coming from “jails, prisons, mental institutions and insane asylums .” Previously he spoke of migrants as people who were “poisoning the blood of our country .”

Trump is nothing if not consistent. As president he told a group of congress members  that he didn’t want immigration from what he referred to as “shithole” countries and mused about inviting Norwegians, who actually have a better quality of life than most U.S. residents. But that wasn’t his point. He was making clear that Scandinavians, considered the whitest of all, would be his preference. In his tirade he specifically mentioned Haitians saying, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”

Trump still speaks in openly racist rhetoric, but Biden’s record is no better in this regard. Nearly 27,000 Haitians have been deported during his time in the presidency, without having an opportunity to make their case for asylum. Trump may speak of poisoned blood but the current president behaves as though he believes the same thing.

In the minds of millions of people the word “American” means white and the same thinking prevails about Canadian citizenship. Politics plays a role too, as the U.S. favors immigrants from countries it likes such as Ukraine, but also from countries it doesn’t like. Citizens of leftist nations like Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela are favored because depopulation and disruption are part of the U.S. plan of attack against those governments.

Haiti is the target of U.S. destabilization but for different reasons. It remains the American nation where the U.S. continues to rule with the help of its allies, a corrupt oligarchy, and the United Nations. Its Black population is still punished because their ancestors dared to fight for independence more than 200 years ago. Haiti is a regional laboratory for imperialism and its citizens who want to flee horrible conditions created by the U.S. are usually out of luck should they show up at the southern border.

Imagine a world where nations were truly sovereign and were allowed to organize themselves as they wished. Imagine there were no coups, imperialist interference, or invasions. Imagine there was no white supremacist public policy. In such a world most people would stay in their homelands. But that is not the world that exists. Racism and injustice prevail, and send millions of people in search of some safety and justice. That unjust world creates immigration policy and makes Ukrainians kings and puts Haitians and others on the bottom rung where they try to climb up as best they can.

Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.