Though there hasn't been as much action on immigration from Congress and the White House as patriots would like, GOP candidates at all levels have to talk about immigration in order to maintain credability with their voters.
“Everybody wants their community safe. Everybody wants America safe,” Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) told a group of Republican volunteers here recently. “This is about community security. This is about opioids and the drugs coming through [the border]. This is about the cartels.”
In conversations with voters around Arizona over the last week, many said they did not feel safe in their own communities. They cited lax border enforcement and the resulting crime they say comes with it.
Bill Coleman, a retiree who has lived in Phoenix and now Tucson for more than 50 years, said he is concerned about the number — and type — of immigrants coming illegally across the border, saying they are immigrants who come not just from Central America, but increasingly from Asia and the Middle East.
“We’ve had crime in this country forever, but I think we have a new dimension of crime,” Coleman said as he left a meeting of local Republican activists. “We get sold a bill of goods about what’s going on at the border by the national media.”
Polls now show voters see immigration as an issue almost as critical to the future of the country as health care and education, a rise driven almost entirely by Republican voters.
[GOP warns crime, immigration will spike if Dems win, by Reid Wilson, The Hill, September 12, 2018]
The article notes that politicans around the country are hammering on illegal immigration in order to energize the Republican base, which is far less enthusiastic about voting in the midterms than are the Democrats. Immigration is also seen as the most important issue facing the nation by an increasing share of voters, according to recent polls [Immigration surges to top of most important problem list, by Frank Newport, Gallup, July 18, 2018].
It's not secret that the Donor Class, the Beltway Right that depends on it, and GOP politicans generally don't want to talk about immigration. However, the base cares about it and President Trump cares about it. In some ways, support for immigration patriotism and support for President Trump are conflated, and GOP politicans who want the president's support are going to have to have a strong stance on immigration.
Ultimately, the GOP is going to be reshaped into a nationalist party, even though that's not what the people who lead it really want [Billionaire Koch Brothers launch super PAC to support Open Borders politicans, by John Binder, Breitbart, September 10, 2018]. Those politicians who are successful in the GOP are those who can generate enthusiasm among the base and no Open Borders politican can do that anymore. The days of John McCain are over, in more ways than one.