Democrats emphasize border security in the congressional race (Part-2).

Still, Democrats struggle with border security politics. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 41% of respondents blame Republicans in Congress for the U.S.-Mexico border situation, while almost half blame Biden and House Democrats.  

Republicans are also criticizing Biden's southern border management with almost every weapon in Congress. They are pressuring Democrats to vote tough on border security and modify policy in exchange for Ukraine aid. February saw the House impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for his southern border management.  

"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 it," said National Republican Senatorial Committee chair Sen. Steve Daines. “If they truly want to solve the border crisis, President Biden can return to the Oval Office with a pen stroke and make significant progress. His choice is not to.”  

Daines visited Arizona this week to defend Lake, a Trump supporter who claims she lost a 2022 governorship due to fraud. Trump-backed candidates struggled to collect money and connect with more moderate voters in the general election, losing Senate races in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Nevada in 2022.  

Republican Senate candidates in West Virginia, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland are coalescing on border policy improvements this year. They are also citing Gallego, Allred, other vulnerable senators' past comments and votes.  

In 2018, a Cruz-aligned Texas political action group ran an ad criticizing Allred for calling the border wall “racist”. According to AdImpact, candidates, political groups, and other entities spent nearly $26 million on border and immigration TV commercials in federal and down-ballot contests in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Ohio in February.  

Still, all Democrats on Capitol Hill have opposed Republican legislation that would reinstate key Trump administration border measures, including border wall building. “You'll be painted as an open border Democrat no matter what, so talk about solutions,” said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.

She encourages politicians to consider border security and strategies to support immigrants who have settled in the country. The method worked under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, she noted.

The way Democrats talk about the border may affect immigration policy. Democrats opposed the Trump administration's strict immigration enforcement. Some Democrats believe the party should abandon its position that border security and legal immigration measures should be separate. That strategy may potentially turn off progressive and Latino voters.  

As we look ahead, I hope Democrats see that despite all the noise about the border, people also care about pathways to citizenship for immigrants who have been here for many years," said Beatriz Lopez, deputy director of The Immigration Hub.  

Gallego and Allred, like most Democrats, support that immigration reform. Texas Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar said Democrats now realize they must discuss their border policy solutions. “For so long, the Republicans have had a narrative about the border being a dangerous place and out of control,” said House Democrats for Border Security leader Cuellar. I think Democrats need a border security story. We value border security.”  

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