Speakers at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas touch upon various topics during their time-metered appearances on the stage. God, country, and patriotism; Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer; cultural issues such as CRT and gender politics; gun rights; abortion; election integrity; and inflation.
But nothing excites the conservatives in the audience more than the fiasco surrounding illegal immigration and open borders. The mere mention of these words draws a resounding response. More mention elicits thunderous applause.
Republican leaders for the last three decades have talked about restricting illegal immigration and expanding the legal kind. But fearing backlash from the media then, which was not quite as woke as it is today, most proposals tended to be relatively mundane.
Former President Donald Trump changed all that over seven years ago one summer. Launching his campaign for president on June 16, 2015, Trump shook the world with these words.
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
Referring to the same theme repeatedly for the next 16 months propelled him to the White House.
Fast forward to today, and Trump's words appear so measured. Kari Lake, who won the Republican nomination for Arizona governor this week, defeating a candidate who had the support of the current governor, tore into the explosive topic right away."One of the reasons I won is that I have the most-aggressive border security plan in the country that we have ever seen. Our plan is to call it what it is. We have an invasion at the border, and on day one, we are going to call it that."
These are comments not from someone running for president but from a candidate for governor of a border state. For members of the Left who say that such vitriolic speech is all rhetoric, given the Supreme Court's many decisions that give the federal government exclusive power to regulate immigration, Lake's ideas do have popular support.
There are many things states can do to circumvent federal power. Texas governor Greg Abbott alluded to several things he is doing to take action when the feds do not. He has frustrated local governments in Washington D.C. and New York City by sending busloads of immigrants released by Border Protection to these regions. The city leaders, nearly always Democrats, are terrified to send them out elsewhere and face ridicule by the Left. Nor do they have resources to care for the new arrivals.
States can deploy the National Guard, which reports to the governor, to make arrests and paralyze commerce. In April, Abbott ordered safety inspections on trucks crossing the border from Mexico at the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge in Hidalgo County. However, by federal law, states do not have the authority to ask drivers to reveal the content of the cargo.
States can also go to court to seek relief and cripple the federal government, a tactic that Republican states have repeatedly used. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, the most-reviled cabinet official at CPAC, issued a memo in September 2021 that instructed immigration officials to prioritize the apprehension and deportation of three noncitizens: suspected terrorists, people who have committed serious crimes, and those caught at the border.
Texas and Louisiana sued in federal court in Texas, arguing that the federal government was not enforcing federal law as written - and won. The Biden administration appealed to the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans to place the ruling on hold. It lost. The administration took the case up to the Supreme Court. It failed there, too, when the Supreme Court refused to grant the ruling a stay. However, the Court agreed to hear the case on its merits in the Fall, with a decision expected in the new term.
TIPP conducted a poll for The National Sheriffs Association in April. Nearly 80% of Americans support criminal vetting and health screening of immigrants. 75% agree that the federal government must inform local officials before resettlement. The Biden administration is doing neither.
The failed border is an issue that unites conservatives like no other. If the Left believes it can energize its base because of the Dobbs decision just two months ago, the GOP has had the topic of the open border on slow burn for over 18 months. President Biden's failure is such a potent winner that on this issue alone, the GOP can romp home to victory this Fall.
Meet us at the CPAC Conference!
The TIPP Poll team will be exhibiting at the CPAC conference in Dallas from August 4 to 7. We invite you to stop by our stand to discuss your research needs and how the TIPP Poll can help you achieve them. You can schedule appointments by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.
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