Beyond the Ballot: Immigration & the Election

Beyond the Ballot is written by Justin Yoo, Pascack Hills sophomore and Vice President of the Politics Club. Social media handles feature @phhspolitics_ ( and @phhspolitics (Instagram).
Thomas Samouhos
Thomas Samouhos
Immigration & the Election
Immigration & the Election

Welcome to “Beyond the Ballot,” a column presented and created by the PHHS Politics Club. This column will explore electoral information, congressional controversies, along with the biggest stories of the week! Stay tuned for biweekly updates from your new news source. This article will feature a look into the biggest issues of this next election.

Now that the candidates for this next election have been sealed, it’s important to weigh the advantages of both and address some of the biggest issues plaguing the nation. As always, the two sides are split on the big-ticket issues. This article will discuss the border and immigration in addition to the role it will play in the upcoming election.

Currently, the Southern border faces a huge problem, with at least 11.39 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States. Mostly, these are people who have been released into the interior but have been “documented” in some way via the “Catch and Release” system, where many are ordered to come back for court dates and hearings but never do. 

The 11.39 million illegal immigrants do not account for those who have been smuggled or have crossed under the radar. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection have recorded 269,735 monthly encounters due to the current administration’s “Open Border Policy.” This number from December 2023 is an 86% increase from just a few months ago. Overall, encounters have increased 100% since 2019. 

The distinction between the two parties on this issue is twofold: political and social. On the political end, Democrats in the White House claim that Congress needs to act to enact legislation for a solution, while Republicans are going for a hands-on state-by-state approach. Many are doubtful of this stance on the matter from the Biden administration, as completely closing the border may be under the purview of an executive order. 

Regardless, both sides acknowledge the growing issue, with Southern local governments being unable to withstand the pressure of thousands of migrants pouring into their cities. Texas has been the lead state and voice in this matter and has constantly been advocating and creating obstructions for people crossing the border. This led to the U.S. suing Texas and winning, with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) confirming that indeed states cannot interfere with federal border policy. The battle remains contentious and there are always politicians fighting for both sides.

The social issue is split with the Democrats prioritizing “human rights” to asylum and the Republicans prioritizing an “America first” agenda and are against the negative side effects of an open border. Democrats say that people who claim asylum are entitled to the protection of the U.S. government and also add that immigration is key to the nation’s diversity and economy. 

Republicans affirm that immigration will hurt wages for Americans due to simple supply and demand, while they also acknowledge the growing fentanyl problem, where in the fiscal year 2023 alone, 27,293 pounds of fentanyl have been seized. This is enough to kill “6 billion” people, according to the Department of Health Services (DoHS). This is only the amount seized, not the amount stopped. Fentanyl is the #1 cause of death for youth in this nation and is a growing problem only exacerbated by mass fentanyl distribution. This dangerous narcotic finds its way into opiates and Adderall. 

While it is important to encourage immigration to keep our population up and to account for falling birth rates, there are dangerous consequences when there is mismanagement and a willingness to let anybody into the nation undetected. 

Regardless of whose fault it was originally, the current border crisis is dire and requires a solution that is simply not being met in the status quo. It is also a key issue that there is little being done on the Mexican side, where a majority of migrants come through (excluding the Chinese immigrant crisis, which will not be discussed here). Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the President of Mexico, stated in a recent interview that there is a mutual need for an open border between the two nations. However, he has also dropped Mexican immigration in the past few months. 

But, the motivation to not muffle even more illegal immigration may be the cartels. These cartels hold extremely high amounts of economic and political power and wish to profit from their drugs by selling it to the U.S., where there is a bigger market and more consumers. Mexico simply does not have a market in which people can buy their drugs at a high price. 

To solve this issue, there needs to be cooperation from both sides, and this starts with weeding out the cartels and cutting off their Chinese suppliers. The severity of this issue reflects in the polls, where 57% of Republicans, 22% of independents, and 10% of Democrats say that immigration is the top issue. By looking at a political party map of red and blue, it’s clear to see why the Republicans feel more strongly about this issue both on a physical and idealistic level.

There are many stories from both sides on this divided issue, and in attempts to keep this edition short and nonpartisan, these parts have been omitted. Only good journalism and in-person visits to the border could serve as a true solution. The Daily Wire, a popular conservative media source, has conducted such journalism, but based on their reaction to the Israel-Hamas war, their militant partisanship has led me to omit their findings. 


The border crisis and immigration continue to grow, while the partisan divides on this issue have only deepened. While there have been small efforts made, a big move must be made to not only defeat partisanship on the border but also to secure the border itself. 

An interesting note is that politically, the Biden administration has to appeal to its more radical base by advocating an open border. However, recent events like a rape of a young girl in Georgia by an illegal immigrant makes this difficult to justify. Interestingly, Hispanic voters seem to be the most opposed, and this is due to their reputation as a minority (they don’t want a negative one) and they think and act like American citizens. As a great number of them have experienced the American dream and are the fastest growing group of people, their interests in terms of security and economics conflict with an open border. 

It’s going to be a long way until we have a permanent solution, but we’re sure to cross that bridge one day.


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Justin Yoo
Justin Yoo, Guest Contributor
Beyond the Ballot is written by Justin Yoo, Pascack Hills sophomore and Vice President of the PHHS Politics Club. Social media handles feature @phhspolitics_ ( and @phhspolitics (Instagram).

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