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Americans say states should have a say in border security efforts

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Americans want states to have a role in stopping the flood of illegal immigration, which comes as the federal government and Texas grapple over who has the right to secure the southern border amidst the ongoing crisis there.

The Center Square Voter’s Voice Poll asked likely voters: “Who should have the final say on immigration policy?”

According to the survey, 29% said border states, 29% said the federal government, and 37% said a combination of both should have the final say on immigration policy. The rest are unsure.

This new poll comes as the Biden administration and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are embroiled in a legal battle over what Abbott says is the state’s right to defend itself from an invasion.

Texas have been locked in a legal battle over razor wire that state military and law enforcement installed to stem the flow of illegal immigration. Texas also put floating barriers up in the Rio Grande, the river that separates Texas from Mexico, and passed a law to allow local law enforcement to arrest foreign nationals who illegally entered Texas on a state crime.

Instead of welcoming the help, the Biden administration sued Texas in all three instances. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that federal agents could remove the concertina wire but did not block Texas from installing more of it.

The survey went on to ask likely voters about this very issue. The survey asked:

“Recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed the Texas National Guard to the border with Mexico and erected razor wire barriers to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the country. The federal government, backed by the Supreme Court, argued that it has authority over national matters such as immigration and that these barriers block federal agents’ access to the border. Which group do you believe is right?”

In response, 43% of likely voters said Texas is in the right, compared to 27% who sided with the federal government. Another 21% said “both are somewhat right.”

The Department of Justice also has sued Texas over its new law allowing officers to arrest foreign nationals who illegally crossed the border, with final rulings still to come.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday blasting President Joe Biden, saying “the Biden administration has tried to stop Texas from enforcing immigration law” and “remove razor wire along the border.”

“Every action Joe Biden takes makes it more evident that the #BidenBorderCrisis is intentional,” she added.

The Biden administration has argued states do not have the legal authority to enact many of these border measures and that it could interfere with federal efforts.

Texas lawmakers have pushed back, saying they would not need to pass these laws if the Biden administration would enforce existing federal immigration laws.

Meanwhile, millions of illegal immigrants have entered the U.S. since Biden took office, part of a huge surge that has come alongside a surge in fentanyl smuggling and an increase in overall crime in the U.S.

In the survey, likely voters’ opinions were split along political lines, with 46% of Republicans saying border states should have the final say, 11% saying the federal government should decide, and 39% pushing for a compromise between them.

Democrats differ, with only 11% favoring border states and 51% putting it entirely in the hands of the federal government, with 33% saying both should work together.

Independents favor a compromise, with 47% saying the feds and states should work together.

The issue has already become a defining one for this 2024 campaign cycle.

Former President Donald Trump has blasted Biden, pointing to the surge in border crossings and recent high-profile killings of Americans by illegal immigrants.

The survey found 44% of likely voters chose immigration as one of the top three most important issues.

The Center Square Voters’ Voice Poll was conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights in March. The poll queried 2,510 respondents split roughly between both Democrats and Republicans along with 340 true independents. The margin of error for likely voters is +/- 2.1%.