GOP hopes Trump's border wall can help them win back the House

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But voters prefer 'smart border management' to 'strong border security' like the wall, a recent poll found.

House Republicans think rallying behind Trump's border wall can help them take the chamber back, according to reports from the GOP's annual legislative retreat, being held now in Orlando, Florida.

Republicans are optimistic about their chances of taking back the House in the 2022 midterms, and are now vowing to restart construction on the wall should that happen.

On Monday, House Conference Committee Chair Liz Cheney said, "I think we need to look at every possible tool. That includes the wall, and it includes technology and being able to move again toward agreements where people who are seeking asylum stay in Mexico," according to reporting from the Washington Examiner.

But polls show that Republicans' support for the border wall is divorced from how U.S. voters really want immigration to be handled.

A Global Strategy Group/Immigration Hub survey released on March 24 found that 58% of voters agreed "the best way to handle migrants at the border is to build a functioning immigration system to process people in a humane way, while developing a robust plan to address the root causes of migration."

"By a 52%-41% margin, voters prefer 'smart border management' to 'strong border security,' disproving the idea that all the public wants is strength at the border," the poll found.

The poll showed broad approval of President Joe Biden's immigration solutions, with 63% of voters approving and 28% disapproving of his approach to the border when it is explained to voters the following way:

President Biden says that what is happening at the border is a direct result of a broken immigration system that has been ignored for too long. That's why Biden is working to safely and securely manage the southern border with new investments in technology and infrastructure, while also addressing the root causes of migration and building capacity to process migrants and children in a humane way that is in line with American values.

The survey additionally found that, by a margin of 47% to 23%, voters see Republicans as blocking Biden from taking action on immigration instead of working with the president on bipartisan solutions. And by a 62% to 25% margin, voters want GOP lawmakers to work with instead of blocking Biden.

Nick Gourevitch, managing director of the group behind the survey, said in a statement that voters "clearly support President Biden's solutions on the border and see Republicans as only working to block what the President is trying to do, opening up a vulnerability for conservatives should they continue to obstruct at every turn."

What's more, many polls have shown that a majority of voters oppose the border wall.

A Gallup poll released in February 2019, the most recent it has on the topic, showed that 60% of voters oppose significantly expanding construction of walls along the U.S.-Mexico border, which is up from 57% of voters who opposed it in 2018.

An April 2019 ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 64% of voters opposed Donald Trump declaring a national emergency to build the border wall without congressional approval.

An August 2020 Ipsos poll found that 56% of voters agree that continuing to build a border wall would take tax dollars away from more important problems, and 54% of voters disagree that it would stop almost all people from crossing the border illegally.

A separate January Ipsos poll showed that 55% of voters supported Biden ending the emergency declaration funding for the border wall.

While Biden has seen broad support for his immigration solutions, a Quinnipiac poll released on April 14 did find 55% of voters disapprove of the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Though he gets generally positive numbers on his domestic strides as he nears his first 100 days in office, the president is confronting the same political quagmire south of the border that bedeviled his predecessor," said Tim Malloy, a Quinnipiac University polling analyst, referring to "the border with Mexico, and the people trying to cross it."

Subsequently, Republicans have been seizing on the U.S.-Mexico border as a talking point.

"Rather than working with President Biden, Republicans are staging another photo op and riding boats armed with machine guns along the border to score cheap political points," said Sergio Gonzales, executive director of the advocacy nonprofit Immigration Hub. "We know where this is going — it's a formula: create the optics of chaos to block immigration legislation with citizenship for immigrants, return to a gutted, un-American asylum process and undermine legal immigration."

As such, GOP officials have been repeatedly attacking Biden for his immigration policies, namely railing against the halting of border wall construction.

Congressional Republicans are complaining that construction materials at the border are going to waste, and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has even filed a lawsuit saying that stopping the border wall is having an adverse impact on the environment.

But the effectiveness of a border wall remains in question. Videos have shown immigrants scaling the border wall, while a 2019 Department of Homeland Security report found that a common industrial saw was able to break through a steel wall prototype.

Meanwhile, Gonzales has full confidence in Democratic lawmakers and the Biden administration.

"With the announcement of Vice President Harris's new role leading efforts to address root causes of migration, the Biden administration and Democrats can move us forward with a modern, fair immigration system that all of America can be proud of," he said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.