Joe Biden's Immigration Headache Could Wreck His 2024 Chances

Voters in the United States are not happy with the government's handling of illegal immigration and the issue could create a headache for President Joe Biden's 2024 reelection bid.

Exclusive polling conducted for Newsweek by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that a majority of registered voters don't believe the U.S. has control of its own borders. Even more worrying for the Biden campaign, a majority of those who voted for the president don't believe the country controls its borders and a plurality are dissatisfied with how the U.S. government is dealing with illegal immigration.

The results come from Newsweek's sentiment tracker carried out by Redfield & Wilton Strategies under a new partnership announced on July 14. The tracker will chart opinions on a range of issues affecting voters' daily lives, engaging readers on topics including the war in Ukraine, health care, gun control, inflation and public education, among others.

Newsweek has reached out to the Biden campaign for comment.

President Joe Biden in the Oval Office
President Joe Biden meets with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in the Oval Office at the White House on July 18, 2023, in Washington, D.C. New polling for Newsweek shows dissatisfaction with the U.S. government's handling of illegal immigration. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The survey was conducted on July 15 and 16 among 1,500 eligible voters.

Poll respondents ranked immigration as the third-most important issue facing the country at 28 percent, behind only the economy at 60 percent and health care at 33 percent.

Immigration is likely to play a major part in the 2024 election, particularly if former President Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. Trump made the southern border one of his central issues during the 2016 election and promised to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Trump administration built 458 miles of what it described as a "border wall system" before construction was halted by Biden.

The poll found that 28 percent of respondents said they were very dissatisfied with the government's approach to illegal immigration and 22 percent said they were dissatisfied.

Eight percent said they were very satisfied with the government's approach, while 11 percent said they were satisfied and 24 percent were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

Among Biden voters, just 15 percent said they were satisfied with the government's approach, while 11 percent said they were very satisfied. A further 28 percent were dissatisfied, while 10 percent were very dissatisfied and 31 percent said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and 5 percent didn't know.

When respondents were asked if they believed the U.S. had control over its borders, 62 percent said the country did not. Twenty-five percent said the U.S. did control its borders and 13 percent didn't know.

It was a similar picture among Biden voters, with 52 percent saying they did not believe the U.S. has control over its borders and 35 percent saying that the country does control its borders. A further 13 percent answered "don't know."

On Wednesday, a federal judge will hear a case challenging an immigration rule that the Biden administration has been using that makes it difficult for migrants who arrive via the southern border to seek asylum unless they get an appointment using a government app or have previously applied for protection in another country. The rule does not apply to children who travel alone and allows for exceptions.

A group of immigrant rights organizations bringing the lawsuit argue that the rule is illegal. The Biden administration argues that it is. The outcome of the lawsuit could have a major impact on immigration policy.

Republicans have long criticized Biden over his handling of undocumented migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, slammed Biden in a statement on Monday shared with Newsweek and other outlets.

"Texas is deploying every tool and strategy to deter and repel illegal crossings between ports of entry as President Biden's dangerous open border policies entice migrants from over 150 countries to risk their lives entering the country illegally," the statement said.

The statement was in response to criticism of Abbott's administration has received following allegations made by a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety. The allegations included that officers with the Texas border force were told not to give migrants water in extreme heat and have been ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande.

"The Office of the Inspector General is investigating the allegations made in the email in question. There is not a directive or policy that instructs Troopers to withhold water from migrants or push them back into the river," Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Travis Considine said on Tuesday in a statement shared with Newsweek.

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