Swing Voters Shrug as GOP Hides Economic Damage amid Border Chaos

EL PASO, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 01: Central American immigrants walk between a newly built Bolla
John Moore / Getty Images

The Republican National Committee is eagerly spotlighting the drugs, deaths, crime, and chaos along President Joe Biden’s border in June — but is ignoring the huge economic and civic damage done to Americans by the federal government’s progressive migration policies.

“In June, more than 207,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended … 621 pounds of deadly fentanyl … At least 523 illegal migrants have died … [border] agents left feeling “demonize[d],” said a July 18 press release, headlined “WORST JUNE AT THE BORDER IN DHS HISTORY.”

“There’s much more to the problem than that,” responded Robert Law, the director of the Center for Homeland Security and Immigration at the America First Policy Institute.

Throughout the GOP, “there has been a reluctance to talk about the pocketbook issues” that can help pull swing voters towards the GOP, Law said, adding:

The [election campaign] argument should be that the crisis at the border is directly related to every other part of your life that has become harder during the Biden administration. Immigration does not operate in a silo, it is interwoven and interconnected with every other part of your existence, such as the cost of food, the cost of rent, transportation, traffic congestion, your ability to get timely and quality health care … You cannot look at immigration as just as a one-off [border] issue — immigration is a driver to any issue that [voters] feel is not going well during during this administration.

The GOP is running out of time to expand the 2022 campaign debate beyond the border chaos. On July 21, RollCall.com reported:

This month, the House Republican Conference is poised to unveil plans for a future majority, developed by its American Security Task Force. Border security is expected to be a key component of that plan.

The strategy could mirror the tack House Democrats took when they won the House in 2018: a slew of messaging bills that have little chance of becoming law but demonstrate the party’s priorities.

Even the poll cited by the RNC’s June 18 press release shows that the congressional GOP has failed to win majority trust on immigration.

For example, the GOP press release included a link to a June 24-26 poll of 2004 voters by Morning Consult and Politico. The poll showed that just 46 percent of voters trust the congressional GOP to handle immigration, despite the chaos and crime caused by Democratic policies.

Just 41 percent of independents trust the congressional GOP, while 32 percent dodged the question, saying “Don’t know/No opinion.”

Similarly, the congressional GOP was trusted by just 31 percent of Hispanics, 18 percent of blacks, 47 percent of Midwesterns, 53 percent of whites, 57 percent of Christians, and 46 percent of suburbanites.

The same failure to persuade was displayed in a July poll of 1,200 likely voters in 56 competitive districts, conducted by Fabrizio Ward & Impact for the AARP.  Just 46 percent of younger voters, and 47 percent of older voters, believe a GOP Congress would be better on immigration than a Democratic Congress. Twenty-five percent of voters said “equal” or “neither.”

The same poll showed that 38 percent of undecided voters are most concerned about economic issues. Just five percent were focused on “immigration” and just 2 percent were focused on “crime.”

Those numbers are up slightly from December 2021.

Amid ambivalence by swing voters, the GOP’s base voters put a very high priority on migration fights, even as the GOP refuses to offer a detailed oversight and reform agenda.

So far, the GOP donors — who gain from the inflow of workers, consumers, and renters — are minimizing GOP debate over the damage caused far from the border by Biden’s deputies.

For example, in 2021, GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy picked a pro-migration legislator, Rep. John Katko (R-NY), to help develop the GOP’s immigration pitch for 2022. Katko is retiring but is an establishment Republican who has supported amnesty for low-wage farmworkers and who relied on the support of business donors to keep his threatened upstate New York seat.

In July 2021, a statement from Katko outlined a vague and toothless agenda:

The Border Security for America Act of 2021 would require that the federal government secure our nation’s international borders through the renewal of border wall construction contracts, investments in advanced technologies, and bolstering support for federal law enforcement officers and specialists.

The business pressure also minimizes the GOP’s rhetorical responses to Biden’s pro-business re-alignment of migration policies. His policies increasingly favor employers, investors, landlords, and coastal districts — and increasingly disfavor blue-collar workers, professionals, farm communities, and heartland states.

“I am, to a great extent, aligned with the expectations” of the immigrant community, Biden’s border chief Alejandro Mayorkas told an audience at the Aspen Institute on July 1. Those expectations “match my ambitions for what we want to do” at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said Mayorkas, who described himself as a refugee from Cuba.

“They reflect, I think, the president’s ambitions for what our country needs and who we are,” Mayorkas said, echoing his prior claims that Americans must ensure their homeland is a “Nation of Immigrants,” not a nation for citizens.

The GOP has expanded the “border chaos” pitch to include a greater focus on the deaths caused by Biden’s loose-migration policies.

“The body bags are piling up,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told Fox News on June 15:

We saw just a few weeks ago, over 50 illegal immigrants in a tractor-trailer outside of San Antonio die of heat exposure, including kids as young as 13. Last year, we had a 100,000 people die of drug overdoses with this fentanyl exposure explosion, and the Joe Biden body bags keep getting worse and worse and worse … The only good thing of all of this horror is its opening people’s eyes. I think November is going to be a red tidal wave. I think South Texas is going to turn red. And if and when Republicans retake Congress, I believe one of the very first priorities is that we should impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“Honing in on those particular issues is what can really get the most dramatic outcry and outrage from ordinary [Democratic-voting] Americans,” responded Law, adding:

They thought [in November 2020] they were voting for so-called “Humane Immigration Policies” and instead got moral depravity on steroids.  I hope it will inspire them –or outrage them — to recognize that … there was deception there, and this is not what American law is about, nor what successful American policy is all about.

“A lot of voters are recoiling at the damage that Biden is causing,’ said Rosemary Jenks, policy director at NumbersUSA:

They’re definitely trying to shame Biden and Mayorkas, and I think that they’re spreading that to the rest of the Democrats in general. I think it will [stick] because immigration is one of the few top issues for voters.

But if the GOP wants to win a clear majority of immigration voters, it needs to offer a clear, pro-American immigration policy that goes beyond border enforcement, said Kevin Lynn founder of U.S. Tech Workers. Those policies should try to fix the border — plus the problems created by the inflow of white-collar visa workers, legal immigrants, and refugees due to overstays, sanctuary cities, and obstacles to deportations, he said.

“When they talk border security, they’re playing to our emotions and fears —  they’re not talking [immigration] policy,” Lynn said, adding:

There really is a split between [establishment] Republicans and America First voters … [Thes estaablishment members] don’t want to solve the immigration issue, because it would anger and turn away their corporate donors, which are the Chamber of Commerce crowd. Those donors want a never ending supply of cheap and exploitable labor.

In contrast, he added, “America First candidates — such as like J.D. Vance [in Ohio]. Joe Kent [in Washington state], like Blake Masters [in Arizona], people like [Gov. Ron] DeSantis, have clear mandates when it comes to immigration because they recognize it’s about supply and demand [for employees], it’s about the [immigration] numbers.”

“I think you’re seeing more members of Congress starting to connect the dots” between Biden’s loose migration policy and the economic damage, said Law. “They not blaming everything on the border.”

Yet progressives and establishment types in Washington D.C. are eager to avert their gaze from the economic and civic damage that they are inflicting on Americans, Law said:

The negative impacts of the crisis and mass immigration are not felt in a negative way by those in in the elite circles. It’s the ordinary Americans who are disproportionately impacted. [The elite’s] schools are not being overrun with illegal alien children. It’s not their hospitals that have quadrupled the waiting time. It’s not their public services that are being swamped by large new populations. …. You can understand where they’re coming from, because they have insulated themselves from the real impact.

Extraction Migration

Since at least 1990, the D.C. establishment has extracted tens of millions of legal and illegal migrants —plus temporary visa workers — from poor countries to serve as workers, managers, consumers, and renters for various U.S. investors and CEOs.

This federal economic policy of Extraction Migration has skewed the free market in the United States by inflating the labor supply for the benefit of employers.

The inflationary policy makes it difficult for ordinary Americans to get marriedadvance in their careersraise families, or buy homes.

Extraction migration has also slowed innovation and shrunk Americans’ productivity, partly because it allows employers to boost stock prices by using cheap stoop labor instead of productivity-boosting technology.

Migration undermines employees’ workplace rights, and it widens the regional wealth gaps between the Democrats’ big coastal states and the Republicans’ heartland and southern states. The flood of cheap labor tilts the economy towards low-productivity jobs and has shoved at least ten million American men out of the labor force.

An economy built on extraction migration also drains Americans’ political clout over elites, alienates young people, and radicalizes Americans’ democratic civic culture because it allows wealthy elites to ignore despairing Americans at the bottom of society.

The economic policy is backed by progressives who wish to transform the U.S. from a society governed by European-origin civic culture into a progressive-directed empire of competitive, resentful identity groups. “We’re trying to become the first multiracial, multi-ethnic superpower in the world,” Rep. Rohit Khanna (D-CA) told the New York Times in March 2022. “It will be an extraordinary achievement … we will ultimately triumph,” he boasted.

 The progressives’ colonialism-like economic strategy kills many migrants. It exploits poor foreigners and splits foreign families as it extracts human resources from poor home countries to serve wealthy U.S. investors. This migration policy also minimizes shareholder pressure on U.S. companies to build up beneficial and complementary trade with people in poor countries.

Business-backed migration advocates hide this extraction migration economic policy behind a wide variety of noble-sounding explanations and theatrical border security programs. For example, progressives claim that the U.S. is a “Nation of Immigrants,” that migration is good for migrants, and that the state must renew itself by replacing populations.

The polls show the public wants to welcome some immigration — but they also show deep and broad public opposition to labor migration and the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates.

The opposition is growinganti-establishmentmultiracialcross-sexnon-racistclass-based, bipartisanrationalpersistent, and recognizes the solidarity that American citizens owe to one another.



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.