The debate in Washington over construction of the wall has tended to overshadow (or at least divert) the ongoing debate over illegal immigration in general. While a solid barrier across areas commonly used by border jumpers is an important part of an overall immigration strategy, the wall has become an all or nothing proposition for members of Congress. It’s a fact that was highlighted by Senator Angus King’s laughable claim that “nobody in Congress wants open borders.”

This partisan spin falls flat under the least bit of scrutiny. King may technically be an independent, but he caucuses with the Democrats. And there are plenty of people in his caucus who have not only refused to discuss hardening the physical border, but have called for the abolishment of ICE. If you don’t want a barrier of any sort at the border and you want to get rid of the law enforcement personnel that remove illegal aliens, what else are we to call it besides the support of open borders? That’s like saying you’re fighting obesity while guzzling soda and chowing down on chocolate cake.

While there may be elected officials who don’t care about border security, that’s not true of the public at large, however. Senior Democrats are still playing this off as something that people just don’t care about, but the most recent polling shows that immigration is actually one of the top priorities on the minds of potential voters. (Associated Press)

As much of the U.S. government remains shut down over President Donald Trump’s insistence on funding for his border wall, nearly half of Americans identify immigration as a top issue for the government to work on this year.

An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted shortly before the shutdown began finds that both Republicans and Democrats are far more likely to include immigration in their list of top issues facing the country this year compared with a year ago.

Overall, 49 percent mentioned immigration in an open-ended question as one of the top five problems they hoped the government addresses in 2019. By contrast, 27 percent mentioned immigration in December 2017.

Republicans are still more concerned about immigration as a top priority, but in this survey, 37 percent of Democrats said the same thing. That’s a significant increase from the 20% who mentioned it in the same poll one year ago. This isn’t an issue that’s just going to go away if the Democrats refuse to debate it.

The breakdown in those numbers is rather stark when you consider what each side really wants out of this debate. Just because most people cite immigration as a top priority, liberals still want to focus on amnesty and the dreamers, while conservatives are concerned with border security and more resources to process cases at the border without releasing the detained into the country’s interior. But to write immigration off as a pressing concern for the voters is obviously a false narrative.