While Tuesday’s midterm elections didn’t end up producing the “red wave” that many conservatives were hoping for, there were still some major bright spots for Republicans. Among them was a surge in Hispanic support in many states—most notably, in Texas and Florida. For years, left-wing politicos have taken the Hispanic vote for granted, assuming that voters in this demographic support open-border policies. However, polls from this election cycle show that Hispanic Americans overwhelmingly support enforced border security. This data was largely overlooked over the last several years by left-leaning candidates and could be a key reason that Republicans in states like Florida saw an increased share of Hispanic support. 

Over the last decade, Republicans have seen their share of the Hispanic vote balloon. In 2020, President Donald Trump won 46% of the Hispanic vote—a major improvement from 2016, when he had taken just 28%. Trump’s success with the demographic produced mainstream media headlines such as “Democrats have a major problem with Hispanic voters.” And yet, the Democratic Party seemingly did little introspection between 2020 and this week’s midterm elections to understand why they continue losing support among these voters. 

Democrats attempted to pander to Hispanic voters by promoting open-border policies and calling concerns about unchecked illegal immigration “racist.” Interestingly, this tactic likely had more traction with white suburban moderates than with Latin Americans. According to a Fox News voter analysis, 65% of Hispanics favor increasing law enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border. This is a significant reason why, in 2020, Trump flipped many former Democratic strongholds on the Texas-Mexico border—which are largely Hispanic in population—red. And it’s why, in this week’s midterms, Republican Monica De La Cruz flipped Texas’ 15th Congressional District, which is heavily Hispanic and had once been solidly blue, defeating Democrat Michelle Vallejo. De La Cruz ran a campaign largely focused on securing the border and providing increased resources to border patrol agents. 

Hispanic concerns over border security are also likely behind Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ massive gains with voters in the demographic. Consider that in Tuesday’s race he received 80% of the Cuban vote, 55% of the Puerto Rican vote, and 50% of the “other” Latino vote; compare that to 67%, 34%, and 34% in 2018, respectively. This substantial shift occurred despite attacks on DeSantis by the media after sending a plane full of migrants to liberal Martha’s Vineyard. “Ron DeSantis should be prosecuted for his treatment of immigrants,” read a smug Guardian headline. It turns out, Hispanic voters in Florida disagree; the majority supported the Republicans’ decision to fly migrants to the Vineyard.  

It is easy to understand why Hispanic Americans are concerned about the porous U.S.-Mexico border. 2.4 million migrants were arrested at the border this fiscal year, the highest figure ever recorded. For reference, that number exceeds the populations of large U.S. cities such as Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, and San Antonio. And that’s just the number of illegal immigrants who were caught—many more entered the country undetected. The number of migrant arrests on record this year is up 37% from last year, and two times higher than the number recorded in 2019. 

Border communities, which tend to be home to a large percentage of Hispanic Americans, often bear the brunt of unchecked illegal immigration. An increase in illegal drugs, human smuggling, crime, and overcrowded schools and hospitals is impacting Hispanic families at a disproportionate rate. Consider that Don McLaughlin, the mayor of the Texas border town Uvalde, told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson:

We have car chases on a daily basis, we have immigrants jumping off trains, we have them coming into towns…in our schools. It’s just non-stop. The Border Patrol, we have a good relationship with our community, but they’re spending all their time having to deal with these unaccompanied minors. But we’re not dealing with minors, we’re dealing with young adult males. A lot of them have criminal records…as of early February, 97 sexual predators have been caught in the Del Rio sector, which Uvalde is a part of.

If Democrats do not want to continue losing support among Hispanic voters, they would be wise to take note of how unchecked illegal immigration is impacting the towns and cities where this demographic lives. Like most voters, Hispanic Americans desire safe, lawful, and orderly communities to raise their families.