Monday, October 5, 2020

McCarthyism is back: Communist Party members from any country are ineligible to immigrate to the U.S.

Senator Joseph McCarthy died in 1957 but the specter of anti-communism has always been alive in U.S. politics. Communist Party members, from any foreign country, are ineligible to immigrate to the United States since the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act. 

In a policy alert announcement issued on October 2nd, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated the guidance under which members of a Communist Party are ineligible to immigrate to the country. 

The guidance reads: 

 "The inadmissibility ground for membership in or affiliation with the Communist or any other totalitarian party is part of a broader set of laws passed by Congress to address threats to the safety and security of the United States. In general, unless otherwise exempt, any immigrant who is or has been a member of or affiliated with the Communist or any other totalitarian party (or subdivision or affiliate), domestic or foreign, is inadmissible to the United States". 

The USCIS guidance sets some exceptions, such as "involuntary membership" (!), when someone became a Communist Party member "under 16 years of age, by operation of law, or for purposes of obtaining employment, food rations, or other essentials of living and whether necessary for such purposes". Also, specific exceptions shall apply to past members of Communist Parties whose "membership or affiliation terminated at least 2-5 years before the date of such application".

Various analysts and Chinese media argue that the policy update adds a new dimension to the ongoing rivalry between the U.S. and China, with the aim being to block members of the Communist Party of China to ever obtain permanent residency or citizenship in the U.S. 

However, the USCIS guidance shows the deeper fear of the U.S. political establishment towards the possibility of radicalization of working class masses in the country. The crisis of the capitalist system, poverty, unemployment, racist violence and police brutality has created a suffocating situation in broad sections of the population, mostly workers, poor farmers, low-income African Americans and other ethnic minorities. 

In any case, the above policy update seems to be the preamble of the intensification of political oppression against Communists in the U.S. who face more and more restrictions and obstacles in their political activity.