Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrives for a news conference in Mission, Texas, on October 6, 2021. Abbott, who's up for reelection, has hammered the Biden administration over the arrival of thousands of migrants at the border.
CNN  — 

As ambitious Republicans plot their return to power in the midterm elections and in statewide races across the country, a familiar face is ready and willing to help them capitalize on President Joe Biden’s sagging poll numbers on immigration.

Stephen Miller, the architect of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, is among a group of policy hawks urging Republican Party officials and candidates to exploit what they describe as Biden’s glaring vulnerability, after crises on the border.

“I’m very open about the fact that I believe the Republican Party needs to really dig in starting now, and work and put in the work to elevate this issue to the center of our national dialogue,” Miller told CNN, adding he’s been in discussions with Republican Party officials and candidates who he has prior relationships with.

He’s among a group of Trump White House aides who will be formally advising the Pennsylvania US Senate campaign of David McCormick, a Republican hedge fund executive, a person familiar with the campaign told CNN.

But with or without Miller’s direct input, immigration is set to vex Democrats. The ebbs and flows of migration patterns are generally out of the control of any sitting US president, but Biden has faced mounds of criticism from both the left and the right.

Most recently, the White House made an about-face on whether migrant families separated under the Trump administration deserve compensation. Initially Biden said they did, but after intense criticism, his administration walked away from the negotiations, which had reportedly included a figure of up to $450,000 per individual affected by the policy, and now the Justice Department has outlined its arguments against payment in a recent court filing.

The administration’s immigration policy challenges come as Biden’s approval rating has sagged. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday finds the President’s approval rating at 33% approve to 53% disapprove, with another 13% not offering opinions. Other relatively recent surveys have shown him with a somewhat higher approval rating, but similar numbers on disapproval.