Vulnerable Dem senator blasted over voting record after ad touts strength on immigration: 'Won't be fooled'

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Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, widely viewed as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate this November, released an ad on Friday touting his strength on the immigration issue which drew pushback from Republicans and highlighted seemingly contradictory positions from his voting record.

“Every day, 12 Ohioans die of a drug overdose,” Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin said in the Brown ad released on Friday before two other Ohio sherrifs joined in.

“And some of the most dangerous drugs are the ones brought here illegally,” Summit County Sheriff Kandy Fatheree continued. “It’s Sherrod Brown who sponsored the law signed by President Trump to crackdown on illegal drugs being smuggled across the border,” Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla Jr. said. 

The 30-second ad went on to say that Brown is “working to punish” Chinese companies and Mexican cartels that are bringing fentanyl into the country.


Sherrod Brown

Senator Sherrod Brown (Joshua A. Bickel/Bloomberg)

“Sherrod Brown has always stood up for us,” Abdalla added before Baldwin says, “He’s fighting to keep our communities safe.”

With immigration expected to be a main focus of the Ohio Senate election, Fox News Digital reviewed Brown’s voting record and found several examples of votes against drug enforcement at the border. 

In August 2022, Brown voted against an amendment that would have sent $500 million to Border Patrol to detect drugs at the border that would have provided the funds needed to install hundreds of millions of unused fentanyl scanning equipment, the acting CBP commissioner said at the time

Brown’s vote proved to be a consequential one as the amendment failed on a 50-50 vote.

In March 2021, Brown voted against an amendment sending $300 million in COVID stimulus funds to CBP for narcotic and opioid detection. That effort failed in the Senate 48-50 with two senators not voting.

Additionally, Brown voted multiple times against legislation that would have cracked down on illegal immigration.

In May 2019, Brown was an original co-sponsor of the End Mass Deportation Act rescinding a Trump executive order that would have prioritized the removal of some criminal illegal immigrants and allowed DHS to withhold federal funds from sanctuary jurisdictions.

Shortly after arriving in Washington, D.C., Brown voted against an amendment aimed at ensuring illegal immigrants could not receive Social Security benefits for fraudulent work while also capping student loans repayments at 15% of discretionary income.


Hundreds of migrants, predominantly from Venezuela, cross the Rio Grande with the intention of seeking humanitarian asylum by crossing the border between Mexico and the United States in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on December 05, 2023. Upon reaching the Rio Grande, they encountered a barrier of barbed wire and Texas National Guard soldiers prohibiting them from crossing the river. Nevertheless, many found a way to cross the river and formed a line in front of a gate in the wall marked with the number 36, hoping to be processed by the Border Patrol and subsequently apply for humanitarian asylum. (Photo by David Peinado/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Hundreds of migrants, predominantly from Venezuela, cross the Rio Grande with the intention of seeking humanitarian asylum by crossing the border between Mexico and the United States in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (David Peinado/Anadolu via Getty Images)

On another amendment during the COVID pandemic, Brown voted against a March 2021 move from GOP Sen. Tom Cotton that would have instructed the Senate Finance Committee to ensure that COVID funds be restricted from sanctuary jurisdictions. That amendment failed 48-50 with two senators not voting.

This month, Brown voted against an amendment aimed at ensuring that illegal immigrants are not counted in the census which determines congressional apportionment and Electoral College votes. Not a single Senate Democrat voted for the measure which died in the chamber.

Brown spoke out against Trump’s efforts to build a border wall several times including in February 2019 when he released a scathing statement in response to Trump “declaring a national emergency at the Southern border” and allocate funds to build a border wall during a government shutdown debate.

“The President’s decision to take funding away from our military to support his vanity project is reckless and irresponsible,” Brown said. “The President continues to hurt the people who make this country work by wasting time and standing in the way of important work like protecting pensions for millions of workers and retirees, bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, or rewriting the tax code to put people first. 

“Instead of building a wall, we should be passing a bill to provide back pay for the contract workers the President hurt with his shutdown.”


Former President Trump Holds A Campaign Rally In Ohio

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump greets Ohio Republican candidate for US Senate Bernie Moreno (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

During an appearance on CNN in 2019, Brown was asked about former Democratic Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s call to tear down the border wall in El Paso because it wasn’t effective and Brown did not rule it out and  suggested the country doesn’t need a “long wall.”

“I don’t think you look at the border wall in a 12 mile area, I take a backseat to nobody on border security and it’s clear we’ve learned over time that we have the technology, helicopters, border agents to make our country safe, to keep illegal crossings at a minimum, without building a long wall,” Brown said. 

“That’s a decision that should be made in the whole context, you don’t say well this congressman says take it down here, this congressman says build it up there. You want to look more broadly than that.”

The Senate rejected a proposal in 2013 that would have delayed permanent legal status for many illegal immigrants until a 700 mile double layered border fence was constructed. That vote failed 39-54 with Brown one of the Democrats who voted against it. 

This week, Brown joined every other Senate Democrat in voting down an amendment  51-47 that would have prohibited Biden from putting migrants on charter flights at the taxpayers’ expense and settling them throughout the country.

Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio and chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, during a hearing in Washington, D.C., on June 22, 2023. (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Brown’s voting record on illegal immigration, according to his critics, paints a different picture than the ad released on Friday.

“Sherrod Brown is lying to Ohioans about his record on border security,” Reagan McCarthy, Communications Director for Brown’s Ohio GOP opponent Bernie Moreno, told Fox News Digital. 

“Time and time again, Brown has voted against deportations, border wall funding, and mandatory minimums for migrants here illegally, and in favor of sanctuary cities. He voted in lockstep with Biden and DC Democrats to create this border invasion and fentanyl surge, and Ohioans will send him packing in November.”

Philip Letsou, Deputy Communications Director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told Fox News Digital that “no amount of election year lies can change the fact that Sherrod Brown and Joe Biden have worked hand-in-hand to open our border and allow our country to be flooded with fentanyl.”

“Brown is an open-border extremist who has done everything he can to make life harder for hardworking Ohioans.”

Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told Fox News Digital that Brown’s ad is attempting to “distract voters’ attention away from the illegal migration disaster caused by the Biden policies and emphasize a few gestures toward the drug crisis.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is seen during senate votes in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)


Vaughan continued, “But voters are more likely to notice that he has been all in on the Biden open border policies, backing the recent catch-and-release bill proposed in the Senate and helping thwart a few narrowly focused GOP bills aimed at curbing this historic flood of illegal migration.”

“No doubt Sen. Brown is concerned about the opioid problem, but he’s either naive or disingenuous to pretend it isn’t enabled by the mass migration and open border policies.  Voters rightly connect the two, and won’t be fooled.  Brown and other Senators who avoid acknowledging the reason for the border crisis, and by extension the exacerbated deadly illicit drug crisis, can run, but they can’t hide where they stand at this point.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the Brown campaign but did not receive a response.

Brown’s race against Moreno in November will be one of the most closely watched in the country as many view it to be one of the best opportunities Republicans have to take back control of the Senate which Democrats currently hold by a 51-49 margin. 

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