(USA Features) Republicans believe that the migrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border that is plaguing the Biden administration will be key to helping the party win back Congress in next year’s midterm elections.
A new survey published by The Hill on Wednesday found that a majority of Americans are not happy with the Biden administration’s handling of the border and immigration generally, leading many Republicans to seize on the disapproval as a wedge issue heading into 2022.
Pledges to enforce immigration law and build a border wall were major issues that propelled former President Donald Trump to victory in 2016.
While President Joe Biden’s popularity remains in positive territory thanks in large part to COVID-19 vaccines developed under the Trump administration and a recovering economy, he is underwater on immigration, which has traditionally been a top concern for voters.
“It’s a very potent issue. It has been in the past and I think it will be,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., said Wednesday. “If they want an open border policy, that’s not something that’s going to have majority support in the country.”
“I’m sure it will be a big issue,” Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz added. “The chaos at the border is the direct result of political decisions made by Joe Biden and [Vice President] Kamala Harris and it’s producing a humanitarian crisis, a public health crisis, and a national security crisis.”
“I think it’s going to be a big issue,” noted Cruz’s Texas Republican colleague, Sen. John Cornyn, who has said that the White House appears unwilling to work with the GOP on solutions.
“I’d like to work with the administration if they’d just work with us,” Cornyn said. “You’re going to have to change some of the policies. I don’t think they really understand the nature of the problem.”
Cornyn, along with Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who has also been critical of the Biden administration’s immigration policies, will jointly introduce legislation in their respective chambers seeking to reform laws regarding migrant children, Newsmax reported.
A Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this month found that 48 percent of respondents said illegal immigration is a “very big problem,” up 20 percent since last June.
“Despite the national party rhetoric, individual senators are still very interested in talking about aspects of immigration. I haven’t given up,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Wednesday, adding that he has met with GOP colleagues to talk about solutions.