AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
Last week, Republican Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida finally forced elected Democrats and the mainstream media to face the consequences of the rapidly worsening crisis at the southern border by dropping off illegal migrants literally right on the doorstep of Vice President Kamala Harris (Biden’s “border czar”) and the homes of Democratic elites in Martha’s Vineyard. For months, the left has largely ignored the disastrous consequences of liberal border policies, while Republicans have had only mixed success at forcing Democrats to answer for their failures. Now, as momentum on illegal immigration turns in Republicans’ favor and voters are tuned into the issue, the GOP needs concrete solutions and specific policy measures to message to voters about how Republicans will halt the unprecedented influx of illegal aliens.
With the midterm campaign season in full swing, one would be hard-pressed to find a Republican stump speech, political advertisement, or online campaign platform without at least some reference to the crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border. Candidates’ campaign websites, for instance, are often littered with promises of “securing our borders,” “enforc[ing] our laws,” and finding “a real solution” to the border crisis. But what these promises often lack are details about how candidates aim to follow through once elected.
For most Americans, the unprecedented nature of the illegal immigration crisis in 2021 and 2022 is more than enough to warrant a serious policy response. In 2021 alone, U.S. Border Patrol encountered nearly two million illegal aliens—the most in recorded history (and that only includes those who were apprehended by border officials). Between April and August of last year, illegal border encounters rose by 945 percent, 674 percent, 471 percent, 413 percent, and 319 percent, respectively, compared to the same months in 2020.
Under Biden, arrests of illegal alien drug smugglers also increased by 453 percent, while arrests of illegal alien sex offenders rose 212 percent. Perhaps most alarmingly of all, with Biden in office, Border Patrol arrests of illegal alien murderers skyrocketed more than 1,900 percent. While that may sound like good news, it means that many more such offenders likely escaped undetected and that the victims of those who were caught still had to suffer the consequences of their crimes.
As of last month, the number of illegal immigrants apprehended along the border has already surpassed last year’s figure—and is on track to reach two million in a matter of weeks.
But the Biden border catastrophe does not end there: in the months since Biden took office, unprecedented amounts of lethal drugs—including fentanyl and methamphetamine—have been detected by Border Patrol. 11,000 pounds of fentanyl, for instance, were seized in fiscal year 2021, which is more than double the amount detected the previous year. Moreover, Biden’s policies have prompted the largest number of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border in history, many of whom are under the control of human traffickers, child smugglers, and violent gangs.
These sobering statistics should mean that self-described conservative candidates make addressing the border crisis a top issue for their campaign and have specific policy prescriptions ready to implement on day one if they are elected. To be sure, some Republicans have offered a handful of concrete solutions to combat the surge of illegal immigrants—including completing construction of the border wall, reinstating Trump-era immigration policies like “Remain in Mexico,” more vigorously deporting illegal border crossers, and asylum reform. But even those candidates who do offer specific policies generally fail to do so with the sense of urgency and resolve the American people deserve.
Republican congressional candidates should, for instance, make clear if they are willing to shut down the U.S. government and hold the federal budget hostage until concrete border security measures are included. Come 2023, Republicans in Congress should also be prepared to block any component of the Biden legislative agenda from passing without first forcing the White House to address the border catastrophe. Unfortunately for many voters, the answers to these questions—and others like them—remain unknown.
In late August, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made headlines for seeming to deny the existence of the border crisis, telling a reporter that, in her words, “It’s not like someone walks over [the border].” Vice President Kamala Harris has similarly claimed that “the border is secure,” despite never actually having been there herself. But although most Republicans are aware that a crisis does, in fact, exist, there are far too many Republicans whose tone differs little from that of Jean-Pierre’s head-in-the-clouds denialism—other than the occasional buzzword or brief acknowledgment that something must be done. It is solutions, not perpetual slogans or even transporting migrants to liberal enclaves, that will ultimately prove Republicans are serious about securing the border and restoring American sovereignty.
Public survey data shows that voters are eager for just such a message. A recent NPR poll found that the majority of Americans believe there is an “invasion” occurring along the southern border. As such, as long Republicans continue to avoid presenting substantive plans to the American people, there is no reason to believe their constituents will reward them at the polls this fall. Republicans should not be timid. Despite what the mainstream media might lead conservatives to believe, American voters are on their side.
If the GOP is serious about its intention to take back control of both chambers of Congress this November, it should start offering a bold, concrete, and achievable vision to its voters—and soon.
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