Democrats Suddenly Pretend to Care about Border Security


(Headline USA) With illegal immigration shaping the elections that will decide control of Congress, Democrats are trying to outflank Republicans and convince voters they can address problems at the U.S. border with Mexico, embracing an issue that has traditionally been used against them.

The shift in strategy, especially from Democrats running in battleground states, comes as the Biden administration has failed to manage an unprecedented influx of migrants at the Southwest border.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has led his party in opposing illegal immigration.

As the GOP looks to flip control of the Senate, they are tying Democrats to President Joe Biden’s handling of immigration.

The tactic has already figured large in elections like Arizona’s Senate race, a seat Democrats almost certainly need to win to save their majority. Republican Kari Lake has repeatedly linked Rep. Ruben Gallego, the likely Democratic nominee, to Biden, telling the crowd at a March event that “there’s really not a difference between the two.”

Democrats believe they can tout their own proposals for fixing the border, especially after Trump and Republican lawmakers rejected a Democratic proposal on border security earlier this year.

“It gives some Democrats an opportunity to say, ‘Look, I’m here for solutions,’” Gallego said.

During most of his five House terms, Gallego had been a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but as he prepared for a Senate run, he quietly left the group. Now he’s emphasizing his work on bolstering the ranks of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and securing funding for communities impacted by recent spikes in immigration, which he calls a “crisis.”

Just two states over, Democrats are hoping to bolster their chances of holding the Senate by pulling off a difficult feat — turning Texas blue, at least in one race. Some see a chance to flip a long-held GOP seat by fielding Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, against Sen. Ted Cruz.

Allred has emphasized his connection to border communities on the campaign trail and recounted how he had made childhood visits to Brownsville, Texas, where his grandfather worked as a customs officer.

Both Allred and Gallego have joined a House task force focused on border security. Some Senate Democrats have also recently leaned into legislation focused on immigration enforcement. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has launched ads criticizing GOP senators for opposing the bipartisan Senate deal.

It is all a part of a strategy to neutralize the GOP’s advantage on the issue by convincing swing voters that Democrats are serious about border policy.

“Democrats aren’t going to win on immigration this year, but they have to get closer to a draw on the issue to get to a place where people take them seriously,” said Lanae Erickson, a senior vice president at Third Way, a centrist Democrat think tank.

Still, Democrats face a difficult task when it comes to the politics of border security. A new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has found that almost half of adults blame Biden and congressional Democrats for the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Republicans are also using practically every tool in Congress to denounce Biden’s handling of the southern border. They are forcing Democrats to take tough votes on border security measures and demanding policy changes in return for aiding Ukraine. And the House in February impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his handling of the southern border.

“The reason you’re seeing the Democrats talk about the border is because they have a political crisis, not because they’re trying to solve the border crisis,” said Sen. Steve Daines, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“If they truly want to solve the border crisis, President Biden can go back to the Oval Office with a stroke of a pen and can make significant inroads in solving this problem. But he chooses not to.”

Democrats on Capitol Hill have all opposed Republican legislation that would bring back many of the Trump administration’s border policies, including restarting the construction of the border wall.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press