Vulnerable Democrats Feel the Heat on Immigration Ahead of the Midterms

Are vulnerable House Democrats starting to feel the heat ahead of the 2022 midterms? It looks that way. Polling reflects a consensus that Americans are souring on the Democrats’ unified control of Washington. The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for President Joe Biden’s approval rating is 41.9 percent, compared with 52.4 percent who disapprove. Republicans lead Democrats in the RCP generic congressional ballot by 3.7 points. Gubernatorial elections in two Democratic states – Virginia and New Jersey – saw a Republican victory in the former and a narrow loss in the latter.

Many issues torment congressional Democrats. The economy is reeling, with inflation reaching a 30-year high. The price of gasoline is up about 50 percent from 2020 and supply-chain issues create headaches for consumers who cannot locate basic goods.

To top that off, President Biden presides over the worst border crisis in recent memory. Apprehensions of illegal aliens at the Southwest border soared to more than 1.7 million in FY 2021, the highest in over 20 years. President Biden used his executive powers to eviscerate immigration enforcement, end programs that slowed fraudulent asylum-seekers from reaching the U.S., and halt border wall funding.

Not to be outdone, Democrats in Congress passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) in March, which would give almost every illegal alien in the country a pathway to citizenship. They passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603), a bill that would create a legal form of indentured servitude for illegal alien farmworkers. Finally, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better (BBB) Act, a massive $1.75 trillion tax-and-spend measure that includes a form of amnesty for over 7 million people and would add over $1 trillion to the deficit over ten years.

To no one’s surprise, these provisions are not popular with the American people. More than 60 percent of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s handling of immigration. So-called “moderate” Democrats who voted for these policies are starting to notice that the Biden border crisis could affect their House seats in the 2022 midterms.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) defeated former GOP Rep. Dave Brat in the “blue wave” midterm elections of 2018 that gave Democrats control of the House of Representatives. She represents Virginia’s 7th district, which the Cook Political Report rated as an R+3 district in 2021, meaning generic Republicans have a three percentage point advantage. In the 2022 gubernatorial election, Republican Glenn Youngkin won Rep. Spanberger’s district by a whopping 11 points. Rep. Spanberger won her last election by only 1.8 points.

Rep. Spanberger appeared on CBS’s “The Takeout” podcast and stated that there is a “crisis at the border.” The podcast’s host also reminded Rep. Spanberger that immigration is an issue that voters in her district care about, recalling that former Republican majority leader Eric Cantor lost a primary re-election to former Rep. Brat in part due to the issue of immigration.

Rep. Spanberger discussed her support of two amnesties – H.R. 6 and H.R. 1603 – before musing that we must pass some form of border security. What kind? She only mentioned “technology” at the border – drones, cameras, etc. She disagreed that a physical wall would be useful and made no mention of fixing our broken asylum laws that allow illegal aliens to claim asylum and live in the U.S. for years while their fraudulent  claims work their way through the immigration courts. Rep. Spanberger is in the majority party and is an important moderate member. Why hasn’t she tried to bridge the bipartisan divide by supporting any form of enforcement, even in the form of border technology?

It is all empty rhetoric – she has voted three times this year for massive amnesties. She has never voted for any form of immigration enforcement, and only began talking about it following a disastrous Democratic result in the governor’s race in her district.

So-called moderate congressional Democrats had the chance to do something about our border crisis. They had the chance to stop amnesty in its tracks – three times. They had the chance to increase funding for the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Instead, they cut funding for ICE and CBP to make a political point.

These politicians can talk all they want about acknowledging the crisis. But until they take action – legislative action – to fix it, their talk will amount to nothing. Congressional moderates know they are in trouble, and their decision to support a radical immigration agenda in the 117th Congress may cost them their majority.

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