Immigration has emerged as a key wedge issue that may cost the Democrats the White House and their U.S. Senate Majority next fall.
According to a Harvard-Harris poll published earlier this month, 71% of registered voters think illegal immigration is getting worse. Democrats made up 37% of respondents to that poll, which means that a critical mass of President Biden’s base is dissatisfied with how his administration has handled the issue. Republicans comprised 36% of poll respondents, and 23% identified as independents. Of those who think illegal immigration is getting worse,12% did not identify as Republicans or independents. Even more damning, however, is the number of Democrats who said illegal immigration is getting worse, which was over half at 53%.
Biden’s first term has been full of border blunders, from permitting the end of Title 42 to halting the construction of the wall on America’s southern border – even attacking Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for both trying to create physical barriers along the border as well as shipping migrants out of his state.
The number of monthly encounters reported by Customs and Border Protection has steadily increased throughout the Biden presidency, to the extent that the Center for Immigration Studies stated that the most recently available August 2023 border numbers revealed a border in freefall.
Just this week, one Eagle Pass, Texas, processing facility which has a capacity of 1,000 people reported “4,600 people inside waiting to be allowed into the U.S.”
Of course, problems that come across our southern border don’t end there and instead spread all over the country – to the extent that law enforcement officials from across the nation have been saying that every county is now a border county.
Democrat-led states and cities are not immune from the effects of Biden’s border crisis, and regular voters, as well as prominent elected Democrats, are catching on to this. Mayor Eric Adams of New York City – someone who, on paper, should have a great relationship with the president – has distanced himself from Biden on the issue of illegal immigration.
Despite his best attempts to portray a diplomatic and nuanced perspective, Adams has flip-flopped. He has called on the Biden administration to do more to secure the border. So, obviously, he sees the issue as one that is best addressed at the federal level. At the same time, however, he has defended NYC’s sanctuary city status. Under his leadership, his city does not comply with federal immigration enforcement efforts.
Overall, Adams seems to be having a hard time convincing both himself and other New Yorkers that being a “sanctuary city” is indeed worth it.
It looks like the mayor has finally caught on that the influx of tens of thousands of foreign nationals into his city is a bad deal for NYC. Now, he wants to see the Right to Shelter law changed to protect his city from the flood of migrants. Adams doesn’t seem to be on great terms with Biden. The mayor was absent from all public events during the president’s visit to New York last week. Fox News reported at the time that he had not spoken to the president since earlier this year.
Biden is reportedly on better terms with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, as the two of them did meet last week, yet even she bore the brunt of Biden’s border crisis in her own state when she deployed 150 members of the New York National Guard to help the Big Apple process an unprecedented influx of migrants earlier this week.
During a press conference announcing the move, Hochul, of course, publicly cast blame on congressional Republicans for not making a deal on comprehensive immigration reform, but if polling data is indicative, Americans of all political affiliations are seeing through the spin.
Joe Biden’s approval rating on immigration is 36%, which is 6% less than his overall approval rating of 42%, showing that his immigration record is less popular than his legislative record overall.
If you can’t win over the likes of Eric Adams and Kathy Hochul with your policies, your chance of winning over the rest of your party and expanding beyond your base to swing voters seems particularly slim.