More Republican candidates and committees have seized on President Donald Trump’s tough talk regarding immigration, and Democratic strategists seem to think the plan is working, according to a report in The New York Times.
The Times obtained a memo produced by the liberal Center for American Progress and the centrist think tank Third Way titled, “Sanctuary attacks pack a punch," which instructs Democrats on how to neutralize the messages.
“It is very difficult to win on immigration with vulnerable voters in the states Trump carried in 2016,” the strategy memo said, arguing that it was among "the most draconian of Republican policies."
The Trump administration has cracked down on immigration, and the president last week announced he was weighing a new family separation policy. The one his staff implemented in April drew a public outcry, resulting in its termination by the White House.
Some Democrats and Independents have since called on the U.S. government to abolish or re-examine Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, more commonly known as ICE, and either replace the agency with “something that reflects our values” or set up a commission to figure out how to revamp it in order to make it, “accountable, transparent and humane.” Others have battled Trump’s attempt to block funding for sanctuary cities.
Republicans have used those themes to attack Democrats in TV ads, and are banking on the issue to drive voters to the polls.
According to CNN, more than $124 million has been spent on more than 280,000 immigration-related TV ad spots in House, Senate, and governor races, more than five times the amount spent during the 2014 midterms.
"It's playing a very prominent role, maybe a more prominent role than it's ever played before," says Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow in the governance studies program at the Brookings Institution.
The reason: Trump.
"This is a president who got elected on this topic, and who constantly brings it up, uses it to stir up his base, and who has proposed some highly controversial things. ... He keeps the issue front and center for a lot of Americans," Kamarck says. "This would not be as prominent an issue under a different president."
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