ORLANDO, Fla. – Rep. Andy Biggs, the co-chair of the House Border Security caucus, told Fox News on Saturday that the crisis at the border is uniting the conservative base — although he says that sentiment is not shared by “elites” in Washington D.C.
Biggs, R-Ariz., spoke to Fox on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he said he was hearing about increasing numbers at the border from agents on the ground, just as President Biden unravels many of the Trump administration’s border policies.
“They’re getting slammed right now,” he said of Border Patrol agents, who he said were encountering as many as 3,500 migrants a day.
A number of Republicans have sounded the alarm about a brewing crisis at the border, and pointing to Biden’s moves to end the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) end asylum agreement and impose restrictions on deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
But for conservatives, Biggs said the issue of illegal immigration and border security are proving to be unifying at the base level. He said that recent polling his office took of Republicans in Arizona, it was the top issue.
“It beats COVID, the economy, education, all things traditionally we’ve thought are pretty strong issues,” he said. “That tells me there’s unity certainly in a border state like Arizona.”
But he also saw polling that nationwide it was the top issue across the country for conservatives.
“And what it tells me is people understand that what Biden is doing, is we’re going to be overrun again and we’re going to lose control of the border again,” he said.
However, that unity and the base level is not necessarily shared by what he described as “elites” in the capital.
“When I speak to people I get a sense that there’s unity there, but the elites in Washington DC are not so unified and corporate interests that like cheap labor are not unified where the base is,” he said.
The congressman said that there are Republican senators who were in favor of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants — something proposed by congressional Democrats and the Biden administration in the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021. He said that one senator who he spoke with was prepared to grant “everyone amnesty in the U.S.”
“I’m like ‘you do that and no Republican ever gets elected ever again’ because that’s not where the base is, and it’s not where I am,” he said.
However, he also thought the current bill in its present form was unlike to pass Congress, and believed Democrats would try and break it up into smaller parts — including an amnesty for farmworkers in the country illegally.
“The broader bill is too much and its a bridge too far for moderate Democrats,” he said.