In the nearly three months since President Joe Biden took office, there has been a historic surge of migrants at the southern border that has overwhelmed Border Patrol and immigration officials — and an increasing number of Americans have taken notice.
In fact, Biden’s handling of the border has become an issue that is both dogging his approval rating while improving the odds of Republicans reclaiming power in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, the Washington Examiner reported.
Immigration and border security
Immigration, followed closely by border security and gun policy, was the worst issue for Biden in terms of approval by American adults, according to an AP-NORC poll in late March.
Only 42% of all Americans approved of Biden’s handling of immigration issues, compared to 56% who disapproved. For the closely related issue of border security, the numbers were similar, with 44% approval and 55% disapproval.
With regard to the flood of unaccompanied children being apprehended at the border and detained in overcrowded and under-resourced detention facilities, the numbers were even worse, as only 24% of Americans “strongly/somewhat” approved of the way Biden has handled the issue as opposed to 40% who “strongly/somewhat” disapproved and 35% who neither approved or disapproved.
A “crisis” for which Biden is responsible
Likewise, a Morning Consult/Politico poll that was also conducted in late March showed that, while the economy was still far and away the most important issue for American voters, the issue of “security” — which would include border security and immigration — was on the rise and had met or surpassed “health care” as a top concern for voters.
The Biden administration has consistently attempted to downplay what is occurring at the southern border, referring to it as a “challenge” or “problem” while studiously avoiding the term “crisis” to describe the situation.
But 50% of registered voters — including 74% of Republicans and 31% of Democrats — deem it to be a “crisis” compared to 34% that say it is just a “problem,” a number that includes 48% of Democrats and just 16% of Republicans.
The Biden administration has also consistently tried to shift blame for the current border surge to the prior administration, but a plurality of voters aren’t buying that explanation, according to a Hill-HarrisX poll in late March.
In fact, 44% of American voters say Biden is most responsible for the ongoing surge while 28% cast blame on Trump, 20% say both are responsible, and 7% claim that neither president deserves blame for what is happening.
Top issue for 2022
The Examiner noted that Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), chair of the Republican Study Committee that recently visited the border to survey the situation, said in an interview that the GOP would likely prioritize the issues of border security and immigration ahead of the 2022 midterms in a bid to capitalize on Biden’s mishandling of the crisis.
“It’s an issue that my constituents, my voters, are paying close attention to,” Banks said. “And that will absolutely be an election issue in 2022 if this administration doesn’t immediately do something about it.”