Back in 2016, there was a major promise that stood out amid the many made by Donald Trump on the campaign trail. This pledge was to construct a significant barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. The purpose of this grand wall? A drastic reduction in illegal immigration and drug trafficking. However, throughout Trump’s term, he faced continuous struggle in securing funds for this highly-talked-about project, facing opposition from figures in both the Democratic and Republican parties.
The dramatic shift in our nation’s approach to immigration and border security was evident on the very first day of President Biden’s term. In a whirlwind of executive orders, Biden reversed many of Trump’s policies in these areas – and one of his acts effectively brought the border wall project to a standstill. He did this by canceling Trump’s order that diverted Pentagon funding towards the construction of this wall.
Almost eight years following Trump’s initial campaign promises and three years after President Biden put a stop to wall construction, one point appears to remain consistent. The slogan ‘build the wall’ surprisingly remains influential amongst the majority of Americans. This notion has been supported by recent survey results.
Trump has been making significant strides recently, earning victories in both the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Republican primary. These wins certainly give the impression that Trump is well-positioned to secure the party nomination, following a clean sweep of key primary states.
Interestingly, New Hampshire’s primary brought an unexpected concern to the forefront of voters’ minds – immigration. Despite the physical distance from the Mexican border, voters still conveyed their unease about increased illegal crossings. According to a Fox News analysis, immigration was the primary concern for approximately 41% of New Hampshire Republicans, eclipsing the economy which stood at 31%.
This shift in primary concerns amongst voters wasn’t restricted to New Hampshire. CBS News and CNN’s exit surveys revealed a similar sentiment amongst the broader public. This pattern might be a response to the deteriorating status at the border, which falls under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The unprecedented situation at the border has ruffled feathers amongst Republicans, leading to whispers of a possible impeachment of Secretary Mayorkas due to discontent with his handling of matters. Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Mark Green, expressed his frustrations with Mayorkas’ governance on Wednesday. He criticized the Secretary’s perceived misuse of power and his apparent disregard for the law.
Pollster John McLaughlin, during his appearance on the ‘Just the News, No Noise’ show, acknowledged another factor that may be influencing New Hampshire’s opinions on immigration. The state shares a border with Canada, through which drug smugglers have been known to operate. This geographical detail could understandably affect how residents perceive immigration and border security issues.
Continuing, McLaughlin contrasted the border situation in New Hampshire with that of the southern border. While situations are not quite as severe, he criticized that the Biden administration’s approach to border enforcement had been wholly lacking. He reflected on how the issue was brought to national attention during Trump’s 2016 campaign, and how it remains relevant today, perhaps with increased urgency.
McLaughlin pointed out that, while the nation acknowledged the border issue, the Washington establishment failed to do so, primarily because their lifestyle benefited from exploiting middle-class Americans and allowing illegal entry into the country. This disconnect now fuels a growing public backlash.
He also highlighted Trump’s triumph in New Hampshire, attributing this success to robust Republican backing. McLaughlin suggested Trump’s victory was due in part to former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s past positions on immigration and border security. He noted that Trump’s support from the Republican voters was strong, despite Haley’s significant non-Republican support.
McLaughlin noted that Trump secured the backing of three-quarters of Republican voters, despite Nikki Haley’s criticism of his stance on the wall and his related policies. Haley had even disparaged Trump’s approach to tackling terrorism.
Pointing to another disturbing trend where even black Democrats are suing their city over the migrant crisis, pollster McLaughlin underlined the influence and scope of the issue. He indicated that this was an aspect not fully recognized by political elites, hence the difficulty of finding solutions that would satisfy the voting public.
Additionally, pollster Scott Rasmussen chimed in, agreeing that political leadership often overlooks border security as a vital issue, whereas many Americans feel otherwise. He suggested that the Democratic Party is facing a tough circumstance, given the escalating tensions over the border.
Rasmussen pointed to the importance of the economy as an issue voters care about, typically ranking first or second. And just as with border security, the specifics of their concerns aren’t always straightforward. With regards to border security, however, he saw things as more clear cut.
In conclusion, while immigration and the controversy surrounding the border wall may have become emblematic of Trump’s 2016 campaign, these issues still play a significant role. They not only contribute to ongoing political discourse but have also served as a catalyst for recent triumphs in Trump’s political journey. As more unexpected regions express their concerns, the situation serves as a reminder that these issues are nationwide, rather than geographically isolated.
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