Democrats emphasize border security in the congressional race (Part-1).

Washington — Democratic candidates are trying to outflank Republicans and convince voters they can fix border issues with Mexico, embracing a topic that has historically been used against them.  

As the Biden administration struggles to manage an unprecedented migrant influx at the Southwest border, Democrats in battleground states are changing their strategy. The Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has termed immigrants "poisoning the blood" and urged for mass deportations. As they seek Senate control, Republicans are linking Democrats to President Joe Biden's immigration policy.  

The technique has already been used in Arizona's Senate race, which Democrats must win to save their control. Rep. Ruben Gallego, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has been likened to Biden by Republican Kari Lake, who told a March event gathering that “there’s really not a difference between the two.”  

After Trump and Republican lawmakers rejected a bipartisan border security measure earlier this year, Democrats feel they can promote their own border security proposals. “It allows some Democrats to say, ‘Look, I'm here for solutions,’” Gallego added. “Republicans are clearly playing games. Both Kari Lake and Donald Trump don't care about border security. They like border security politics. We're here to act.”  

Gallego quietly quit the Congressional Progressive Caucus as he prepared for a Senate candidacy after five years in Congress. He now focuses on strengthening U.S. Customs and Border Protection and winning assistance for towns affected by the immigration “crisis.”

Gallego criticized the GOP for obstructing the bipartisan border bill last month in front of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office in Arizona. "Every minute we wait means more fentanyl deaths, more strain on our first responders, and the possibility of street releases—something no small community wants," he warned.  

Democrats are trying to flip Texas blue in one contest to improve their Senate chances in Texas. Some believe Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas, can defeat Sen. Ted Cruz and flip a GOP seat. On the campaign trail, Allred mentioned his childhood excursions to Brownsville, Texas, where his grandfather was a customs officer.  

Our border communities are not just political backdrops, not just places you go to point out problems,” he told a news conference last month. “They're places where real people live, raising their families.”  

Allred and Gallego joined a House border security task team. Recently, some Senate Democrats have supported immigration enforcement bills. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee advertisements criticize GOP senators for blocking bipartisan Senate accord.  

This is part of an effort to convince swing voters that Democrats care about border policy and negate the GOP's advantage. Lanae Erickson, senior vice president at centrist Democrat think tank Third Way, said Democrats won't win on immigration this year, but they must come closer to a draw to be taken seriously. “Be palatable enough on that issue that people will consider other priorities.”

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