Only 41 Percent of Voters Trust Republicans on Immigration Policy

US Representative John Katko (R-NY) addresses the press during the congressional border delegation visit to El Paso, Texas on March 15, 2021. - President Joe Biden faced mounting pressure Monday from Republicans over his handling of a surge in migrants -- including thousands of unaccompanied children -- arriving at the …
JUSTIN HAMEL/AFP via Getty Images

Only 41 percent of registered voters believe Republicans are best able to handle the nation’s worsening migration problem, according to a poll by the Wall Street Journal.

The low rating shows the failure of the GOP’s leadership — and especially Rep. John Katko (R-NY) — to offer a coherent agenda that offers clear pocketbook benefits to GOP and swing voters. Katko is the chairman of the American Security Task Force which was created to craft a winning immigration message for the 2022 election.

“The issues that Americans are concerned about are pocketbook issues — whether they can pay their bills, whether they can pay their mortgage, whether they can find housing, whether their kids are in good schools and in safe schools,” said Rosemary Jenks, the government relations director at NumbersUSA.

“All of that relates to our immigration policy, and Republicans aren’t talking about those issues,” she said.

That political failure comes amid a deliberate decision by Democrats to allow at least one million illegal and partly-legal southern migrants to rush into U.S. jobs, neighborhoods, and schools, in full view of the evening news shows.

The November 16-22 poll of 1,500 registered voters showed that public concern over immigration outranks the economy or the rising inflation rate, despite the GOP’s broad effort to showcase the rising prices in President Joe Biden’s economy.

Thirteen percent of voters rated migration as the top issue, ahead of the economy at 11 percent, and inflation at 10 percent.

The poll asked, “Between the Democrats in Congress and the Republicans in Congress, who in your opinion is BEST ABLE to handle each of the following issues? If you think they are both equally able to handle an issue, or neither is, just say so.”

When they were asked who can “fix the immigration system,” 27 percent of the voters picked Democrats and 41 percent picked Republicans.

But nine percent picked “both equally” and 20 percent responded “don’t know.”

The 41 percent response showed that only a minority of voters trust the GOP in Congress.

The poll also showed 29 percent of voters — including many critical swing voters — do not see a believable difference on immigration between the pro-amnesty Democrats in Congress and the donor-dependent GOP.

The GOP did better on the narrow issue of who best can “secure the border.” Only 16 percent of voters picked Democrats, and 52 percent — a bare majority —  picked Republicans.

But that score still left 28 percent of voters not ready to favor the GOP. The 28 percent included 9 percent who picked “both equally” and 19 percent who said “neither.”

Katko is an establishment Republican who has supported amnesty for law-wage farmworkers and who needs the support of business donors and Democrats to keep his threatened upstate New York seat.

His message for the 2022 election spotlights opposition to Biden’s border chaos, migrant arrivals, and push for amnesty, and ignores pocketbook issues related to wages, jobs, rents and schools. For example, Breitbart reported on Katko’s proposed 2022 promise — the passage of the Border Security for America Act of 2021:

“From finishing the border wall system to modernizing technology and bolstering border staffing, this legislation tackles key shortcomings and weaknesses,” Katko said in a statement.

“That’s all there is to it?” responded Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, who noted the bill does not include any language to close up legal loopholes in the border, such as catch-and-release rules:

“It is pretty weak. I’m not against it, but it will not address the border crisis. The border crisis is primarily driven by loopholes in the law that everybody is aware of, not by a lack of equipment or personnel. I don’t dispute there almost certainly are personnel and equipment needs, but that’s not the main problem here.”

Katko’s recent tweets highlight his appearances on Fox News. The network frequently publicizes the border chaos while ignoring the costs donor-backed migration imposes on voters’ pocketbooks:

“It is clear that there is a lack of leadership in the Republican Party on the immigration issue, because if the leadership were talking about these [pocketbook] issues and encouraging members to talk about these issues, they would be,” said Jenks.

Katko’s office did not respond to questions from Breitbart News.

Katko’s silence about wages and jobs plays into the Democrats’ plans for the 2022 election.

For example, a billionaire-funded progressive coalition is citing a November push poll to reassure Democrats worried about voter opposition to the Democrats’ parole amnesty, which would provide roughly 6.5 million illegals with work permits.

The polling memo predicts that establishment Republicans will criticize the amnesty merely as a welfare giveaway, not as a painful pocketbook loss of jobs and wages that would otherwise go to young Americans:

By saying it will address labor shortages — as unfilled jobs and inflation remain top concerns for many voters nationwide — we [Democrats] may effectively beat back Republican economic attacks on the [amnesty] proposal. When voters are presented with a statement on both sides of the issue, a statement from supporters of the proposal referencing labor shortages beats a statement from opponents of the proposal referencing taxpayer-funded benefits by a 58% to 38% margin.

A December 6, Democratic poll argues that voters are more concerned about jobs and wages than the GOP’s focus on inflation. The poll carefully ignores the hot-button issue of immigration as it claims, “When voters are asked which is more important to them, 54 percent of voters say job and wage growth is more important to them, while only 39 percent of voters say slowing rising prices is more important.”

Unsurprisingly, a wide variety of pollsters have shown deep and broad opposition to labor migration and the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates. This opposition is multiracialcross-sexnon-racistclass-based, bipartisanrational, persistent, and recognizes the solidarity Americans owe to each other.

Eric Levitz, a pro-migration editor at New York Magazine, wrote November 24:

Trump’s party is obviously concerned about immigration. But it hasn’t mustered any signature plan for remaking the immigration system. This is in part because the GOP remains internally divided on legal immigration. With a labor shortage plaguing many industries — agriculture has been especially hard hit — many GOP-aligned business interests are more hostile to cutting legal inflows than they were when Senate Republicans voted down Trump’s plan for doing so. Thus the GOP’s actual substantive ambitions on Trump’s signature issue appear to be quite modest: The party wants to hire more Border agents, build more walls, and make life a little harder for asylum seekers while leaving the bulk of the status quo immigration system in place.

Katko’s refusal to emphasize pocketbook immigration reforms is fueling a push to replace him as chairman of the critical homeland security committee. The Hill reported November 16:

In a closed-door meeting in the Capitol, Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) launched an effort to oust Katko as the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, sources in the room said. Bishop, a member of the Trump-aligned House Freedom Caucus, serves under Katko on the Homeland panel.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif), who has urged rank-and-file members to stay unified and keep their focus on taking back the majority next year, referred Bishop’s motion to the influential Republican Steering Committee. That committee can either vote and recommend that the full GOP conference remove Katko or simply not act on it.

But Katko has been backed by other establishment Republicans including Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

Amid silence from Katko, other GOP legislators have drafted reforms that deliver pocketbook gains to ordinary Americans. For example, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) and 10 other GOP members introduced legislation on December 9 that will drastically shrink the Fortune 500’s use of foreign visa workers for white-collar jobs sought by well-trained U.S. graduates.

The bill is backed by Reps. Mary E. Miller (R-IL), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Eric Crawford (R-AR), Steven M. Palazzo (R-MS), Kevin Hern (R-OK), Austin Scott (R-GA), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Dan Meuser (R-PA), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA).

Banks’ pocketbook proposal is tailored for suburban college grads, but other pocketbook promises will also help bring in more Latino voters. Veteran Democrat strategist Ruy Teixeira wrote December 9:

In the [2020] post-election wave of the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group (VSG) panel survey, well over 70 percent of Hispanic voters rated jobs, the economy, health care and the coronavirus as issues that were “very important” to them. No other issues even came close to this level. Crime as an issue rated higher with these voters than immigration or racial equality, two issues that Democrats assumed would clear the path to big gains among Hispanic voters.

“They are instead a patriotic, upwardly mobile, working class group with quite practical and down to earth concerns,” Teixeira wrote.

The U.S. government’s post-1986, bipartisan economic policy of extraction migration is deeply unpopular among a broad swath of voters because it damages ordinary Americans’ career opportunities, cuts their wages, and raises their housing costs.

The invited migration also curbs Americans’ productivity, shrinks their political clout, widens regional wealth gaps, radicalizes their democratic, compromise-promoting civic culture, and allows the elites to ignore despairing Americans at the bottom of society.


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