Immigration a major issue for Texas voters on Super Tuesday

  • Polls: 28% of Americans say immigration most important issue facing the US
  • Texas border communities in the middle of a national debate on immigration
  • Texas GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales  faces tough primary challenge

EAGLE PASS, Texas (NewsNation) — As polling stations open nationwide for Super Tuesday primaries, immigration is taking center stage in many races, including in Texas.

According to the latest Gallup poll, 28% of Americans identify immigration as the most important issue facing the U.S. — an 8-point increase from January and nearly a 20-point surge from August. It’s the highest since Gallup began polling immigration in 1981.

The spike in concern can be attributed, in part, to Texas’ transportation of 104,000 migrants north to cities that had declared themselves sanctuary cities. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order impacted cities like New York, Chicago and Denver the most.

Eagle Pass, a Texas border community, is in the middle of a national debate on immigration. Many voters in Texas and elsewhere in the country are likely to base their decisions in the presidential contest and some down-ballot races on immigration.

Last week, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump held dueling visits to the border in Texas. Trump visited Eagle Pass, where just three months prior, the area averaged more than 2,000 illegal crossings daily. In contrast, Biden opted for Brownsville, where crossings have significantly decreased.

“Voters want something … anything done,” said Alvaro Corral, a University of Texas Rio Grande Valley assistant professor of political science. “President Biden is behind President Trump on the issue of handling the border. The Biden administration, very much in a campaign year, is trying to address this because they recognize this is a liability going into November.”

The Latino vote will be crucial for both candidates in the 23rd Congressional District, a majority Latino district that spans hundreds of miles along the U.S.-Mexico border.

It serves as a hard-fought battleground for both Republicans and Democrats. It includes Eagle Pass, and taxpayers are monitoring closely as local law enforcement reports migrant-related issues impacting their response times. The Eagle Pass Fire Department told NewsNation it has exceeded over half a million dollars in losses from responding to injured migrants.

The upcoming primary election could also prove very consequential for the Texas Legislature, where Trump has issued very pointed endorsements.

A critical race looms as incumbent U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales contends with four GOP challenges for his seat. The Navy veteran faced censure for his party for diverging from party lines on border security and gun laws.


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