Home » GOP seizes on illegal immigration as an issue in New York special election

GOP seizes on illegal immigration as an issue in New York special election

by NBC News

Democrats have a big advertising advantage in New York’s special congressional election so far. But per the GOP ads voters are seeing, Republicans see immigration and border security as a potential weak spot for Democratic nominee Tom Suozzi.

“Tom Suozzi rolled out the red carpet for illegal immigrants,” one ad’s narrator says.

“Another murder committed. Another illegal immigrant arrested. Because of open border radicals like [Gov. Kathy] Hochul’s hand-picked candidate, Tom Suozzi,” rails another.

Suozzi, a former House member, is running against Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip in the Feb. 13 special election. It’s a district that voted by 8 points for President Joe Biden in 2020 but has had Republicans make steady gains in the years since. And Pilip’s allies are pointing to votes Suozzi took when he was a member of Congress against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which would have expanded the scope of law enforcement activities related to immigration and defunded sanctuary cities. 

Republicans also cite his public rhetoric, like when he told viewers in a Democratic gubernatorial primary debate in 2022 that he “kicked ICE out of Nassau County.” (Suozzi on Thursday argued that the ads took that comment out of context.)

Republicans are running what could be a preview of what awaits in the 2024 general election up and down the ballot. Former President Donald Trump and other GOP presidential candidates have railed against Biden and the influx of migrants at the border for years. And voters are paying attention even far from the border: In New York, more than 80% of registered voters across the state said that the recent influx of migrants is a serious problem, per a Siena College poll conducted earlier this month.

“Make no mistake about it. This is a crisis that has been a strain on resources around the state,” David Laska, the communications director for the New York state Republican Party, told NBC News.

The Siena poll also found that 59% of…

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