OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
One of then-GOP presidential contender Donald Trump’s signature campaign pledges in 2016 was to “build a big, beautiful wall” along much of the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to cut illegal immigration and drug smuggling dramatically.
It took Trump most of his presidential term to get funding for the project after he was opposed by Democrats and Republicans, many of whom are no longer serving in Congress.
On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, he signed a stack of executive orders reversing the majority of Trump’s highly effective immigration and border enforcement policies, including his order to redirect some Pentagon funding into border wall construction, effectively halting the project.
But now, nearly eight years after his first campaign and three years after Biden canceled wall construction, the phrase “build the wall” continues to resonate with a majority of Americans, according to a new survey.
Trump has recently secured significant wins in both the Iowa Caucus last week and the New Hampshire Republican primary on Tuesday evening, appearing to set himself up for a potential sweep of crucial primary states and ultimately capturing the party nomination.
Notably, in the case of the New Hampshire primary, exit polls conducted by various outlets indicated that immigration emerged as one of the primary concerns for voters, even in a region distant from the issue of increased illegal border crossings from Mexico.
In a voter analysis by Fox News, 41% of New Hampshire Republicans identified immigration as their primary concern, while 31% selected the economy. Exit surveys conducted by CBS News and CNN echoed this sentiment among voters.
The trend may be influenced by the worsening conditions at the border, overseen by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, which has prompted discussions among Republicans about the possibility of impeaching him due to their dissatisfaction with his management of the issue, Just the News reported.
“Our thorough and fair investigation exposed Secretary Mayorkas’ abuse of power and refusal to comply with the law,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., said Wednesday.
During an appearance on the “Just the News, No Noise” television show, pollster John McLaughlin acknowledged that New Hampshire shares a border with Canada, which has been used as an entry point for drug smugglers. This geographical factor could potentially influence how residents of the Granite State perceive the issue of immigration.
He went on to note that the situation had not deteriorated “to the extent of the southern border. But it’s still, I mean, the Biden administration is totally derelict in enforcing the borders.”
“And President Trump raised it in 2016, the country embraced it,” he went on. “The powers that be in Washington that survive off exploiting the middle class and allowing illegal immigrants into the country, they didn’t embrace it. And now, there’s more of a backlash.”
McLaughlin also emphasized Trump’s triumph in New Hampshire, stating that Trump successfully rallied strong Republican support, ultimately prevailing over substantial non-Republican backing for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. He attributed the victory, at least in part, to Haley’s own track record on immigration issues at the border.
“We fought through that…President Trump got three-quarters of the Republican voters because they know that Nikki Haley, at one point, had attacked us on the wall, attacked President Trump’s terrorist ban,” McLaughlin added.
“(P)eople are connecting the border crisis with the Fentanyl crisis. They are seeing weaknesses in national security that connects the border problem to what’s happening in the Middle East or Ukraine. There’s some general fears that are going on,” he said. “When you have phenomenon like black Democrats suing their city over the migrant crisis, that’s something that tells you this is a huge issue.”
“And I think one of the one of the reasons it’s a big issue is the political elites don’t see it as a big issue, and many Democrats want to propose a solution that would not please most voters,” pollster Scott Rasmussen added.
“And so all of a sudden, you’ve got the situation that the Democratic Party is having a hard time grappling with. Nothing is being done. And it’s it’s moving up as a decisive issue. When you talk about the economy, it’s always like a number one or two issue, almost always number one, but the things they say are bothering them aren’t as clear cut as they are on border security,” he said.