Conservative commentator says 'moral stance' on immigration 'doesn't win elections'

Conservative commentator Kimberly Klacik defended the Trump administration’s approach to immigration, arguing President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE hasn’t lost his base over the issue because a moral stance on immigration doesn’t ultimately win elections.

“The moral stance is great but it doesn’t win elections,” Klacik told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti on “Rising.”

“Right now, you have President Trump who hasn’t lost any in his base,” she added. “Let’s face it, this is not a big deal for us.”

Klacik was responding to a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Monday.

The poll raised two issues that received widespread support among 2020 hopefuls in the first Democratic primary debate: The decriminalization of border crossings and health care for undocumented immigrations.

According to the poll, 66 percent of Americans said decriminalizing illegal border crossings was a bad idea, compared to just 27 percent who supported the idea.

The poll also found that a majority of voters were not in favor of providing national health care that would cover all Americans, including undocumented immigrations.

Klacik said she wasn’t surprised by the results, saying the poll “speaks volumes” about the views of the American public.

“It shows that we aren’t as ‘progressive’ as they think that we are,” she said in reference to the poll.

During a MSNBC Democratic presidential primary debate last month, all 10 presidential contenders raised their hands when asked if their health care plans would cover undocumented immigrants.

President Trump tore into the Democratic candidates who raised their hand, which include top-tier candidates like former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Volatile presidential polls spark new round of anxieties British Bookmaker: Warren has replaced Biden as Democratic primary favorite MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersVolatile presidential polls spark new round of anxieties GOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left' British Bookmaker: Warren has replaced Biden as Democratic primary favorite MORE (I-Vt.), calling it “the end of that race.”

Decriminalizing border crossings also gained strong support among Democratic candidates during the second night of debates. 

Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? Hickenlooper expected to end presidential bid on Thursday MORE (D-Colo.) was the only one who did not raise his hand in favor of such a move.

Immigration has emerged as one of the top animating issues for both parties.

While Democrats have vowed to curtail the threat of deportation and provide pathways to citizenship, Trump has doubled down on hard-line policies that seek to curb both legal and illegal border crossings. 

The Trump administration announced plans last week to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants and there are also reports that the administration is looking to cap the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. in 2020 to zero.

—Tess Bonn