U.S. Immigration Crisis Adds To Problems That Galvanize Republican Voters

The U.S. immigration crisis has added to the long list of issues that has fired up Republican voters, and could further galvanize the party's base in the lead up to November's Congressional elections, experts said.

Four months before the mid-term elections, the U.S. President Barack Obama administration has been embroiled in numerous scandals, ranging from deaths at government-run veterans' hospitals due to treatment delays to charges of presidential overreach.

To add to those and many other the Republican Party (GOP)'s concerns, a debate over immigration from the U.S. southern border has erupted amid a surge in the number of unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally. The hot button issue represents a bitter divide between the two parties, as Democrats favor amnesty while Republicans regard the border's lax security as another Obama administration's failure.

The issue now tops the list of Americans' concerns, according to a recent Gallup poll, and especially resonates with older, more conservative voters, who tend to vote Republican.

"The longer this southern border crisis drags on, the worse it is for Democrats' hope of holding control of the Senate in 2014," Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua, referring to the very real possibility that Republicans could end up controlling both houses of Congress and render Obama a lame duck.

Indeed, twice as many Republicans cite immigration as a top concern, according to a recent poll, in an election whereby candidates will rely primarily on their base to get out the vote.

"This is an issue that is firing up the Republican base more than it's firing up the Democratic base," O'Connell said.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua

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Analysis & Political Strategy