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FIRST ON FOX: Republican Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker has secured the endorsement of the Border Patrol union, as Republicans are looking to make the ongoing crisis at the southern border a top midterm election issue.
The National Border Patrol Council said it was “proud” to endorse Walker, who is looking to oust Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., in November. The union’s president grouped Warnock in with President Biden as it backed the Republican challenger.
“With border crossings up 78% since last year, we are experiencing an influx of crime, drugs, and human trafficking in this country,” NBPC President Brandon Judd said. “Georgia citizens are paying the price of the irresponsible soft-on-crime policies from Raphael Warnock and Joe Biden firsthand. It’s time to elect a strong leader who will always prioritize the safety of Georgia and U.S. citizens, and that person is Herschel Walker.”
“I’m honored to be endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council,” Walker said. “On the campaign trail, I’m often reminded of how Georgians don’t feel safe in their own communities, and our law enforcement heroes are being abandoned — and even demonized — by our leaders in Washington.”
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Walker accused Warnock of “pushing a soft-on-crime and open border” agenda: “I will always back the blue, and I will work to support them in the U.S. Senate.”
Walker has pledged to provide more funding, support and protection for Border Patrol — while supporting border security measures including physical barriers, technology. His office has also said he would “empower Border Patrol to do the job they were hired to do, not demonize them at every turn.”
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Warnock has criticized a “broken” immigration system and his campaign is calling for “comprehensive immigration reform that fixes our broken system, keeps our nation safe, and provides a reasonable path to citizenship.” He was also one of a number of Democrats who notably broke with the Biden administration in its move to end Title 42 expulsions at the southern border earlier this year, with a spokesperson saying the administration needed to present a plan to prevent from “making an already dire humanitarian situation worse,”
Walker, who won a Heisman Trophy and helped steer the University of Georgia to a college football national championship four decades ago, jumped into the GOP race to face off against Warnock last summer with the backing of former President Trump.
Walker, who enjoys significant name recognition in the state, became the front-runner and secured the GOP nomination. But polls show the race between Walker and Warnock – who Republicans see as vulnerable – remains tight. A Fox News Poll released Thursday finds Warnock up 4 percentage points over Walker (46% vs. 42%). These results are within the margin of error.
Republicans in both the House and Senate have sought to make the border crisis a top election issue. There have been more than 200,000 encounters a month, with fiscal year 2022 already outpacing last fiscal year’s 1.7 million encounters.
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Fox News recently reported that more than half a million known “gotaways” sneak across into the U.S. since fiscal year 2022 began on October 1. The Biden administration has claimed that the border is “secure” and has instead looked to target “root causes” like poverty and violence in Central America.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.