Immigration Remains a Top Issue of Concern for Voters at the Start of 2023

With the Supreme Court voting to uphold Title 42 on immigration and Congress passing the most recent Omnibus Bill, fierce debates are expected to reignite regarding the best plans and methods to address America’s border crisis and immigration emergency at the southern border.

A recent poll by Harris / Harvard and other organizations show immigration maintaining its grip as a top concern among voters, regardless of party affiliation. The number of known undocumented immigrant crossings at the southern border in fiscal 2022 topped 2.76 million, and the unknown unofficial total includes drug traffickers. With the opioid overdose crisis killing thousands of Americans, attorney generals and governors in different states have demanded enhanced border protection and immigration enforcement efforts from the federal government.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody sued the Biden administration for failing to secure the border, demanding that the administration at a minimum issue the required charging documents to arriving aliens and initiate removal proceedings. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty told Biden to stop a scheduled release of immigrant detainees planned by Immigration Control Enforcement.

“In the last year, nearly three million migrants have illegally entered the country—a population larger than the largest four cities of Tennessee combined—Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga,” Hagerty said. “This does not even include the number of “gotaway” migrants who illegally crossed into our country undetected.”

Georgia political talk show host Ben Burnett highlighted legal immigration’s capacity to lower the cost of many of the goods and services that have become glaringly more expensive during the recent inflation surge since President Joe Biden took office. Burnett also covered the devastating consequences of illegal immigration, including illegally-imported drugs such as fentanyl and other life-threatening drugs.

“Even countries to the left of us have largely figured it out. If you want to move to Great Britain or Australia, you have to be under the age of 25 and work in an area of industry that they deem need-based,” Burnett said. “Service workers, tech workers, people that work in agriculture, fields, mining or machinery. Skill-based work. If you look at the state of affairs in Central America between Nicaragua, and Guatemala, these are war-torn countries. The Chinese government has set up chemical distribution and manufacturing facilities in order to get Fentanyl into the U.S. and other narcotics so that they can wage war on America, using people under the guise of customs and immigration. There are all kinds of horrible things that come across that wall.”

South Florida Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar is expected to make another effort to pass her legislation known as “The Dignity Act”, which combines efforts to enhance border security, while also providing a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are willing to pay fines and take other steps toward earning full citizenship. Salazar’s first attempt to pass the bill was met with staunch resistance from many conservatives in congress as well as the media, including Fox News talk show host, Tucker Carlson, who got into a heated debate with Salazar on his program.

Following the Republicans’ closer-than-expected retaking of the U.S. House and leadership battles among conservatives, forecasting the success of any immigration bill presented in the near term is essentially impossible.

Matt O'Hern
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