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House GOP re-election arm says border security 'will play everywhere' in midterms

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FIRST ON FOX: Republicans in the House of Representatives are spotlighting border security as a top issue as they work to regain the chamber’s majority in November’s midterm elections.

And the House GOP re-election arm sees border security as a winning issue not only in competitive House districts along the nation’s southern border, but also across the country, and not only with a GOP base that gets fired up over immigration and border security, but also among independent voters and even some Democrats.

“This is an American issue. I think it’s going to play everywhere,” National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) chair Rep.Tom Emmer emphasized in an exclusive interview with Fox News.

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Emmer spoke ahead of the NRCC’s sending out the 200th edition of its “#BidenBorderCrisis” series – a daily email the committee’s been compiling each Monday through Friday since early last year. That’s when the latest surge in migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border began grabbing national headlines.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., with Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., speaks to reporters about the southern border of the U.S., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The NRCC’s volumes – as it describes them – highlight the soaring numbers of undocumented immigrants crossing the border each month to such items as drug cartel car crashes in border towns. And the NRCC obviously takes aim at President Biden and his administration’s response to the crisis.

Emmer charged that the Biden administration “has literally created this border crisis that has made every community in the U.S. less safe.”

The NRCC is spotlighting border security in predictable places – competitive House districts at or near the southern border. Among them are the 15th, 28th and 34th Congressional Districts in Texas and the 2nd and 6th Congressional Districts in Arizona.

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But Emmer, a five-term Republican from Minnesota, argues that the issue resonates well beyond those districts. “I think this issue plays well in Iowa. I think this issue plays well in places like Montana and other seats that aren’t on the southern border,” Emmer touted “It’s going to be a good message for Republicans.”

The NRCC points to the well-publicized recent influx of opioids once again coming across the southern border and notes that “461 pounds of deadly fentanyl and 11,118 pounds of methamphetamine seized at the southern border in December alone.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection a month ago reported a 1,066% increase in the amount of fentanyl seized in fiscal year 2021 in south Texas

“It certainly is a border issue,” Emmer said. “But you start talking about issues like fentanyl and human trafficking, and this problem goes to every community in America, and we’re just going to make sure that the Biden administration and Democrats running for the House this cycle are held accountable for that.” 

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House Democrats argue that their GOP counterparts are playing politics with the issue.

“House Democrats are focused on protecting our border and fixing our nation’s broken immigration system so that people who want to work hard and contribute to our economy have a shot at living the American dream,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesperson Chris Taylor told Fox News.

And he charged that “House Republicans are playing politics with the border and using it as a photo op instead of trying of working on solutions.” 

Republicans need a net gain of just five seats in the 435-member House in November’s elections to regain the majority they lost in the 2018 midterms. And border security’s one of the leading issues they’re spotlighting as they work to win back the House.

Immigration and border security have been top of mind with Republicans ever since then-presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed in 2015 to build a wall along the southern border and make Mexico pay for it.

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, on the campaign trail.

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, on the campaign trail.

But Emmer sees the issue resonating with independents and Democrats.

“You’re losing kids across this country to fentanyl overdoses. It really is about being safe and secure in their communities,” Emmer emphasized.

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Nearly six in 10 questioned in the most recent Fox News national poll – conducted Jan. 16-19 – said they were “extremely” or “very” concerned about “migrants at the border.” The issue ranked seventh, behind “inflation/higher prices,” “higher U.S. crime rates,” “political divisions,” “coronavirus pandemic,” “North Korea missile tests” and “Russia-Ukraine situation.”

The president’s approval on border security was well underwater, at 39% approval and 57% disapproval. And by a 16-point margin, those surveyed said that Republicans rather than Democrats would do a better job on the issue.

Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.

Continue Reading at Fox News.

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