NEWS AND OPINION:
While social unrest continues to percolate in the U.S., the hopes of many people to enter the U.S. by the southern border have not disappeared. They appear to be increasing in intensity, with a plea directed toward President-elect Joseph R. Biden himself, according to a new report.
“Migrants chanting ‘Biden! Biden!’ attempt to rush the border. Will mass-incursion tactics test Biden’s promises of a kinder, gentler immigration agenda?” asks Todd Bensman, a Texas-based national security fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit, independent research organization.
He cites an event on the evening of Dec. 29 in which some 400 hopefuls “forced their way past Mexican immigration” in an attempt to enter El Paso, Texas.
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mobile Field Force officers met them in riot gear and used concrete blocks tipped by concertina wire to block the onslaught mid-bridge as many of the migrants chanted ‘Biden! Biden!’ Many demanded they be let in to live in the United States while they pursue asylum claims, instead of waiting in Mexico as required under various policies of President Trump,” Mr. Bensman wrote.
There was a similar event near Del Rio, Texas.
“Do attempted mass incursions like these foreshadow a new flash point and tactic whereby untold tens of thousands of migrants inside Mexico can quickly test the new Biden administration on its many campaign promises of a kinder and gentler approach toward them? It bears watching,” the analyst said.
He estimates that as many as 170,000 “economic migrants” could be waiting in Mexico to make asylum claims, and counting the days until a new administration arrives at the White House.
“A large reservoir of frustrated migrants in Mexico is pulsing with Biden hope,” Mr. Bensman observed.
Ipsos — a global pollster — has a lukewarm prediction for President-elect Joseph R. Biden when he enters the White House and begins his term later this month. The moment has been dubbed “Biden’s tepid arrival” by one analyst.
“There is a lot to do in 2021. Is Biden up to the challenge? He has already lost a bit of his shine even as president-elect. Some of America is still suspicious about the election outcome itself. This is our divided America and Biden’s burden,” wrote Clifford Young, president of U.S. public affairs for Ipsos.
New numbers from the pollster reveal a dampening of pro-Biden emotions, perhaps.
According to a poll of 1,115 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 21-22, Mr. Biden’s overall approval rating stands at 53% among all Americans. That’s down from 60% in a similar poll conducted in mid-November. Mr. Biden also had a disapproval rating of 37% — up from 31% in the later poll.
But what do voters think?
A Fox News poll of 1,007 registered U.S. voters conducted Dec. 6-9 and released Dec. 30 asked their expectations, and 26% predicted Mr. Biden will be an “above average” president; 21% of voters say he will be an “average” president; 20% expect “one of the worst” presidents; and 13% say Mr. Biden will be one of the country’s “greatest” presidents. Meanwhile, 5% say he won’t be president at all.
THE MARCH: WHAT THE PRESS EXPECTS
Thew news media has been framing the upcoming “Trump march” on Wednesday in the nation’s capital as, well, a vigorous public event. A few stray headlines:
“MAGA marchers plot final D.C. stand on Jan. 6” (Politico); “D.C. houses of worship beef up security as Trump defenders descend on the nation’s capital” (The Washington Post); “5 Reasons to Avoid the January 6 Pro-Trump Marches in DC” (Washingtonian); and “Officials brace for pro-Trump march” (Al Jazeera).
THE FAITH FACTOR
Faith still has a place on Capitol Hill.
“Fully 99% of Republicans in Congress identify as Christians. There are two Jewish Republicans in the House, Reps. Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee. New York Rep. Chris Jacobs declined to specify a religious affiliation. All other Republicans in the 117th Congress identify as Christian in some way,” notes a substantial new analysis from the Pew Research Center released Monday.
Among Democrats, 78% also identify as Christians.
“When it comes to religious affiliation, the 117th U.S. Congress looks similar to the previous Congress but quite different from Americans overall. While about a quarter (26%) of U.S. adults are religiously unaffiliated — describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular’ — just one member of the new Congress (Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.) identifies as religiously unaffiliated (0.2%),” reports a Pew Research study.
“Nearly nine-in-ten members of Congress identify as Christian (88%), compared with two-thirds of the general public (65%). Congress is both more heavily Protestant (55% vs. 43%) and more heavily Catholic (30% vs. 20%) than the U.S. adult population overall,” the research noted.
“Most members of the House and Senate are Christians, with the House just slightly more Christian than the Senate (88% vs. 87%). And both chambers have a Protestant majority — 55% of representatives are Protestant, as are 59% of senators,” it said.
The analysis is based on data about U.S. lawmakers compiled by CQ Roll Call, and aggregated numbers from multiple Pew Research surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019.
POLL DU JOUR
• 48% of U.S. adults say they wold prefer to live in a rural area or town, given a choice; 66% of Republicans, 47% of independents and 33% of Democrats agree.
• 52% of men and 44% of women also agree.
• 27% overall would choose a “big or small” city; 17% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 36% of Democrats agree.
• 24% of men and 29% of women also agree.
• 25% overall would choose the suburbs of a big or small city; 17% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 31% of Democrats agree.
• 24% of men and 26% of women also agree.
Source: A Gallup poll of 1,018 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 1-17 and released Tuesday.
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