The latest Fox News polling shows immigration and border security rate as the second most important issue facing Americans, but border residents are concerned their message won’t get to Middle Americans in time.
“America needs to wake up because this — it’s not happening just down here. It’s happening in all 50 states. This is not a border state issue or a border city issue anymore. That’s done and over with,” warned Brownsville, Texas, resident Norman Esquivel.
Ahead of the first GOP presidential debate, immigration lawyer Chris Richardson explained that the candidates need to do a better job at laying out their policy plans.
“Everyone has a plan on their website, but we need immigration strategy, a consistent, comprehensive strategy of leadership,” he stated.
Richardson spelled out how the chaos at the border is being caused by a breakdown in America’s legal immigration system, pointing to backlogs in work permits, approvals, and case reviews. “Essentially what’s happening is, is because these people can’t use the legal immigration system. They’re trying to use irregular migration to enter the country.”
According to a June PEW Research poll, 73% of U.S. adults think illegal immigration is a moderately or very big problem.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has taken measures at the border into his own hands, erecting floating barriers and putting up razor wire to deter migrants from crossing.
Esquivel teared up as he described the state of the land he used as his childhood playground. His neighbor Debra Bell detailed the impacts to the community.
“We’ve got trash galore. We’ve got people running in the streets, we’ve got bridges being rushed. I mean, this is an issue and you can bet that the American people are gonna remember this come election day,” Bell said.
Bell worries that Americans who don’t live next to the border may not see the impact immigration policies have beyond what they see on TV. “They don’t see it day to day,” she said. “They hear about it, here and there, to no fault of their own, but to see it everywhere you walk — the people on the streets, the trash that’s been left behind.”
Voters like Sandra Kerr-Porcara of Maryland expressed the disbelief that large migration would dramatically affect American life. “I don’t understand what all the hoopla is about,” she said. “They’re not here to take our jobs. They’re not here to take our homes, just seriously.”
Sixty percent of Americans, however, disapprove of Biden’s handling of the border. Iowa voter Kim Schmett wants to see more done. “Your back door is open on your house. You really don’t own or control your house. The same thing is true for our country. We’ve got to control it,” she said.
When asked why Middle America should pay more attention to the border, Esquivel points toward fentanyl. “What about the fentanyl deaths? What we’re doing down here is stopping the killing field,” Esquivel said.
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