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House Dems seeking re-election seemingly reverse course, call on Biden to ‘bring order to the southern border’

Five House Democrats who voted against measures to strengthen border security in the past have seemingly changed their tune as they seek re-election.

Five vulnerable Democrats who voted against measures to strengthen border security in the past have seemingly changed their tune as they seek re-election to their posts in the lower chamber.

Following President Biden’s signing of a $95 billion package with aid to both Ukraine and Israel last week, five Democrats – Reps. Jared Golden of Maine, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington, Mary Peltola of Alaska, Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and Don Davis of North Carolina – released a joint statement agreeing with calls for Congress and the president to “act and bring order to the southern border.”

“Beyond defending our allies, we strongly agree with the National Border Patrol Council that Congress and the President must act and bring order to the Southern border,” the lawmakers stated. “That is why we also voted for H.R. 3602 on Saturday, and why we all voted last month for $19.6 billion for Border Patrol so that it could ramp up its efforts to secure the border.”


The comments from the five Democrats – three of whom (Golden, GluesenKamp, and Davis) are engaged in tough re-election battles that have been labeled “toss up” races by the Cook Political Report, and another two (Peltola and Gonzalez) competing in races labeled “lean Democrat” – came after each one of them voted against the Secure the Border Act of 2023.

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That bill, which passed in the House, would have expanded the type of crimes that make someone ineligible for asylum, limited the eligibility to those who arrive at ports of entry, mandated a system similar to the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system, and created additional penalties for visa overstay.

In addition to not supporting the Secure the Border Act, the same five Democrats voted on two different occasions against GOP-led efforts to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whom many Republicans have argued is largely responsible for the migrant crisis at the southern border.

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Certain Democrats, like Gluesenkamp Perez, who was first elected to Congress in 2022 and co-chairs the Blue Dog Coalition with Golden and Peltola, have made dismissive comments about the border crisis in recent years.

The Washington lawmaker previously faced criticism from Republicans over border-related comments she made in March 2023 during an appearance on Pod Save America, which came prior to the ending of the Title 42 public health order.

“Listen, nobody stays awake at night worrying about the southern border,” she said at the time. “That’s just not… people stay awake at night worrying that their kid is gonna relapse or that, you know, someone’s going to drop out of school or they’re going to lose their house.”

Gluesenkamp Perez was also one of many Democrats who defended Mayorkas amid calls for his impeachment earlier this year, saying it was “frustrating to see” Republicans push for his ouster because “he doesn’t set policy, he implements it.”

Despite her past remarks, Gluesenkamp Perez has been critical of Biden’s handling of the border crisis in recent months, saying in April that she voted in support of H.R. 3602, which provides for criminal penalties for certain conduct that interferes with U.S. border control measures, because “President Biden has failed to end the crisis at our Southern Border.”

“Every country has an obligation to protect its citizens and secure its sovereign borders, and H.R. 3602 focuses on the urgent need to restore operational control of the Southern Border. Unlike the unworkable and un-American immigration proposals pushed by far-right extremists, this bipartisan bill doesn’t create burdensome government mandates that would harm small businesses, agricultural employers, rural communities, and our economy,” she said at the time.

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In a statement to Fox News Digital, a member of the congresswoman’s press team insisted that she has “called on the [Biden] Administration her entire time in office to fix the crisis at our Southern Border, and for Congress to do its job to pass meaningful border security legislation.”

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The spokesperson also touted the Washington lawmaker’s introduction of the “Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act to restore operational control at the Southern Border by restoring expulsion authority for Border Patrol and requiring the President to reinstate Remain in Mexico,” as well as her support for the End Fentanyl Act.

“Marie continues to urge Congress to get back to work to address the real crisis at our border and end the petty gamesmanship,” the spokesperson said.

Gonzalez is another Democrat who made dismissive remarks prior to the expiration of Title 42, which provided the ability for American officials to bar migrants from entering the country during a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a July 2023 stop in Edinburgh, Texas, Gonzalez reportedly shot down questions and concern over whether Biden was doing enough to secure the southern border amid an overwhelming influx of illegal immigrants.

“We have seen major improvements along the border.… If you go to the border now, in our region, it’s pretty unremarkable what you see,” Gonzalez said, according to the Rio Grande Guardian. “When they lifted Title 42 and implemented Title 7, which I advocated against… I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong. What the president did, what Secretary Mayorkas has done, has positively impacted our border and that’s a fact.”

“People could point fingers and say things, but the reality is, undocumented crossings are down by 70%,” he added at the time.

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A little more than a week after Gonzalez gave those remarks, the Texas Tribune reported that Border Patrol agents “made more than 130,000 arrests along the Mexico border [in July 2023], preliminary figures show, up from 99,545 in June.”

Gonzalez is one of 154 Democrats who voted this January against the Agent Raul Gonzalez Officer Safety Act, which would have created hefty federal penalties for illegal migrants who evade U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers during motor vehicle pursuits. The measure was named after a Border Patrol officer who died in a vehicle crash in Texas last year during a pursuit.

Along with Golden and Gluesenkamp Perez, Gonzalez was one of 201 Democrats who voted in July 2023 against the Schools Not Shelters Act, which would have prohibited “the use of the facilities of a public elementary school, a public secondary school, or an institution of higher education to provide shelter for aliens who have not been admitted into the United States, and for other purposes.”

Peltola joined 218 Republicans in voting in favor of that measure at the time, while Davis did not vote.

“I remain dedicated to addressing the border crisis. However, we must not inflict harm on American agriculture in the process,” Davis said in a statement to Fox. “Initially, I had concerns about the e-verify provision in HR-2, but it was removed, allowing me to fully lend my support, along with just four other Democrats, to H.R. 3602, the Bipartisan End the Border Catastrophe Act.”

Asked whether he believes Biden is responsible for the border crisis, Davis said his “votes speak for themselves.”

CBP records show the first six months of fiscal year 2024 had 1,340,801 total encounters, exceeding the first six months of fiscal year 2023, which set a record of 1,226,254 total encounters.

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