By Susan Crabtree With the permission of real clean politics
As the immigration crisis intensifies in South Texas, President Biden’s inconsistent border policy and messaging are not only damaging his approval ratings across the country, but could also give the Democratic Party a once-secure seat in Congress.
The valley in Rio Grande is the epicenter of the crisis, and its residents feel the effects of geysers at border crossings every day. Illegal crossings reached a 21-year high in July, with 212,672 encounters reported by U.S. Border Patrol that month. Across South Texas, car chases have increased this year, almost nine times in some areas. Concerned about the personal safety of tired immigrants, as well as the cost of repairing broken fences, trashed land and stolen equipment, tired immigrants struggle to maintain a balance of sympathy for the passage through their property. Federal agents have seen a significant increase in 4,000 fentanyl seizures in Texas this year as smugglers use increased border-patrol resources.
Although Democrats now control three of the House seats representing Texas’ southern-most border with Mexico, voting patterns are making districts more competitive.
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Republicans are massively targeting all three seats after the 2020 election showed a surprising swing in favor of the GOP on the Texas-Mexico border. Once deep blue, the three districts voted Biden by just two to four percentage points, with Hillary Clinton losing in 2016 by 17 to 22-points. Republicans have also reshuffled their side this year as the GOP-controlled Texas legislature prepares to rebuild several congressional districts in their favor.
Recent votes from the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas have pointed to another cause of democratic outrage: Biden’s approval rating is under water among Latino voters in the Lone Star State. More than 54% of registered Latino voters in the state said they denied what Biden was doing overall, while only 35% said they approved.
When it comes to the president’s handling of the immigration crisis at the border, only 2% of Latino voters in the state indicated their support, while 52% said they disagreed (the rest are unsure). The survey was conducted September 7-14, before more than 12,000 Haitian migrants gathered under the Del Rio International Bridge, creating a new humanitarian crisis with immigration facilities that already stretched beyond capacity.
Changes in voting patterns are already taking effect. Earlier this year, Rep. Philmon Vela, who represents the 3rd Congressional District of Texas, including the city of Brownsville, abruptly announced his retirement. In 2020, he won re-election in a seat that is generally considered safe for Democrats by about 1 percentage point. But the National Republicans identified Vela as a target and won the Biden district by just 2.5 points from the Clinton margin. Five Republicans and four Democrats are now running instead of Vela, promising a fiercely competitive campaign.
Representative Henry Queller (pictured) and Vicente Gonzalez, two other Democratic congressmen representing the Valley in Rio Grande, are fighting to hold on to their seats while taking a different approach to the immigration crisis, although both campaigned hard for Biden last year.
Queller, who has regularly led his party for years, has been an outspoken critic of Biden’s more flexible immigration policy, repeatedly criticizing the administration for creating “incentives” for immigrants to make the “uncomfortable” journey to the United States dangerous. But effective deportation policy.
The 16-year-old House veteran was the first lawmaker to provide a picture of a crowded prison facility in Donna, Texas, when the administration launched a media blackout earlier this year. He also called on Vice President Kamala Harris, Biden’s point person on immigration, to visit the border a few months before his trip to Central America in June.
Last week, Border Patrol agents in Cuellar del Rio were embroiled in a debate over whether they were using their horse reins as a whip against Haitian immigrants, defending efforts to stop illegal crossings by acknowledging that all immigrants should be treated humanely. Appearing in the “CNN Newsroom” on Tuesday, Queller was asked about photos of border agents chasing immigrants on horseback – and which one host said he was using “rope or lasso”.
He quickly came to the agents’ defense. “Of course, we have to make sure we treat all immigrants with respect and dignity, but I will say this: the border patrol has got that horse brigade for some time. They had them for some time, number one. Number two, they don’t carry whips, and they don’t carry lassos.
“Should these be used with restraint?” The CNN host asked.
“If there’s a problem, it should be investigated, and I think that’s it,” Queller responded. “But we can’t paint border patrols with the same kind of paintbrush. What are they supposed to do, just stand there and let everyone come? They are supposed to enforce the law. ”
Following the release of the photo, which caused a stir among civil rights leaders, the Department of Homeland Security launched an investigation. White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie announced Wednesday that agents in Del Rio will no longer use horses to prevent illegal crossings.
Koehler has represented South Texas for his entire career, either in the state legislature or in Congress. Last year he won the re-election by a maximum of 20 points but faced a serious challenge during the primary, giving only 6. percentage points to the more liberal candidate. The same Democratic challenger, Jessica Cisnaros, is fighting against him again. Republicans suggest that Queller is losing, just blocking a primary opponent in 2020, and facing a reunion because his immigration views are not liberal enough for the Democratic Party even though they fully represent his district.
Vicente Gonzalez seems to be weaker than Koeler. He last won re-election by just 2.9 points in 2018 after topping his GOP rival by 19.6 points. Despite that change, Gonzalez has largely defended the administration’s immigration policies, praising Harris’ plan to address the root causes of immigration as “an overall approach” to “creating conditions where people want to live in their own country.”
“We had a good meeting with the vice president a few weeks ago, and I think he has a very good plan to find out the root causes, which will ultimately be the only way to prevent mass immigration,” he told CNN early June. “If we don’t address the root causes, what we’re doing is putting a band-aid at our border.”
Over the past two weeks, as the Haitian immigration crisis has engulfed resources in Del Rio, Gonzalez has distanced himself from the controversy, even refraining from tweeting about it. But during a Fox News appearance on Thursday, host Neil Cavuto pressured him on Biden’s decision to stop allowing agents to use horses for border control.
Gonzalez called it “the most complex and difficult situation we need to investigate.”
“We must find an orderly way to deal with the crisis,” he added. “I am not just trying to get people out of the country. We need a screening process before they come here. ”
A member of the moderate problem-solving Caucus, Gonzalez has returned against calls from progressives to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. But he has not joined Queller in his strong criticism of Bouden’s approach, even in the way he has decreed to enrich Mexican drug cartels.
Since Biden took office, Gonzalez has lamented that those cartels are taking advantage of immigrants, charging each of them যাওয়ার 6,000 to cross the U.S. border, and earning more than $ 1.3 billion in the first few months of this year alone.
The three-term Texas Democrat has so far tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Biden administration to set up a processing center for asylum seekers on the Mexico-Guatemala border, where immigrants can apply for asylum and only qualify when they can go to the United States. President Trump secured an agreement with Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras to use their military forces so that they could not continue the convoys to the United States, but when Kovid was hit, he used a vague health system, known as Title 42. Application for their asylum in the name of public health. Biden is on fire from the left to continue the policy of deporting thousands of immigrants while leaving others in the United States seeking asylum.
Those who decide to make the perilous journey north are only coming from certain poor pockets in several Central American countries, Gonzalez said. For this reason, the United States needs to make “surgical, thoughtful, intelligent investments that create jobs, create security, invest in agricultural projects, produce and tourism, and create ideas that create better jobs for people to live in,” he argued.
He did not mention that the Obama administration’s efforts to address the root causes by sending billions of taxpayer dollars to Central America বি the Biden-led effort উত্ত have had virtually no effect on the North’s continued journey.
Gonzalez was much more critical of Trump’s immigration policy. Last year, he called on the administration to suspend its COVID immigration ban, which is dramatically reducing the number of illegal border crossings in the population of border camps in Mexico.
“Imagine these people who have crossed the 2,000 mile trek and now have one acre of land হাজার thousands of them. Of course, this is an easy place to spread the virus, ”he told The Hill.
“Mexico could probably do a lot more, because I went there, and it was a noise. It’s not like the detention center on this side, as much as we complain about them. They’re living in search of land and garbage. There are some port-to-strip plugs, but it’s really bad, ”he added.
As the ongoing border crisis continues to weigh on Biden’s turnout across the country, Republicans are keeping a close eye on every statement made by Queller and Gonzalez on the issue. If their districts maintain a purple trend next year, Republicans will find a way to regain a House majority directly through the border region. Whatever the outcome, Democrats will have to invest far more resources than usual to keep these seats in their columns next year.