Ever since Donald Trump began pushing for a wall at the southern U.S. border, Democrat leaders in the House and Senate have declared that there is no crisis there, and therefore no need for such a barrier.
Many of the Democratic candidates running for president have said so, too. "This emergency at the border is fake," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said President Trump "created a fiction about a crisis at the border."
But that's not what a growing number of Democrats across the country think, at least not anymore.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds nearly a quarter of Democrats (24%) say there is a "crisis" at the U.S.-Mexico border. That number has soared 17 percentage points since the last poll in January.
Independents, too, are rethinking the situation. Now, nearly a third (30%) think there's a crisis, up 9 points since the last poll. Overall, 35% of Americans think there's a "crisis," up 11 points since January.
"The shifting views have altered the political calculus for Democrats, including the 20 candidates already in the race for the party’s presidential nomination, who have sought to challenge Trump’s hard-line rhetoric on immigration," the Post writes. "Having once accused the president of falsely fanning public fears over a nonexistent crisis, Democrats have shifted to emphasizing the humanitarian challenges at the border, while still accusing Trump of demonizing immigrants and pursuing policies that have exacerbated the problems."
Huh. So there really is a crisis at the border, despite what Democrats and the mainstream media have been saying for months.
Trump has been pushing the border barrier since he entered the 2016 race, and he's ramping up to do so again throughout the 2020 election. Earlier this month, Donald J. Trump For President, Inc., released a video, just before Trump boarded a plane to fly to the U.S.-Mexico border to view construction of a portion of a new barrier there.
"The video features 2020 Democrats flippantly dismissing the situation, as well as prominent Obama era experts and media figures admitting that there is indeed a crisis," the campaign explained. "The video closes with a call for Democrats in Congress to work with President Trump to address the problem."
"Democrats refuse to admit there is a crisis along our southern border and are even actively campaigning on an open borders platform," Trump campaign National Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in an email. "President Trump has been an unmistakable leader on the issue of illegal immigration since before he took office and will not rest until our border is secured."
The problem at the border has only been getting worse. Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch told a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing this month that border agents have captured people trying to enter the U.S. illegally from more than 50 different countries, including Turkey, China, Bangladesh, Egypt and Romania. Customs and Border Protection agents apprehended more than 76,000 illegal aliens crossing the U.S. border in February alone, and estimates say that number will top 100,000 in March.
Trump on Monday called for an overhaul of the asylum system, proposing a new fee to process applicants and raising "the capacity to rapidly adjudicate applicants' claims while also barring them from working in the U.S. in the meantime," Fox News reported.
In a presidential memorandum, Trump specifically told Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan that the move was necessary to address a "crisis" at the border. In an article published earlier this month, The New York Times acknowledged that the humanitarian crisis of illegal immigration has hit a "breaking point."
Arrests along the southern border have skyrocketed in recent months, with border agents making more than 100,000 arrests or denials of entry in March, a 12-year high. Immigration courts that process asylum claims currently have a backlog of more than 800,000 cases, and asylum applicants are increasingly staying in the U.S. even after their claims for asylum have been denied.
“That emergency continues to grow increasingly severe,” Trump's memo read. “The extensive resources required to process and care for these individuals pulls U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel away from securing our Nation’s borders.”