Dem pollster says many voters don't think about immigration in terms of policy

Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg said Wednesday that the problem with the immigration debate is that not enough people are thinking about the issue in terms of policy.

"I think the challenge here is there's a difference between policy and attitudes," Greenberg, a partner at Greenberg Quinlan Rosener, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking."

"The problem is is that for many people, they think of immigration not in terms of policy, but around race and xenophobia," she said.

"In a particular way, this president has used it as a cudgel to activate, I think, some of our worst tendencies in this country," she added. "Until we can sort of tamp down that aspect of it, it's very hard to get to a policy solution in particular for Republicans who worry about people primarying them."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE used the issue of border security to rally Republican voters to the polls during the November midterm elections. In particular, he focused on what he characterized as a national security threat posed by Central American migrants making their way to the U.S. border with Mexico.

The president on Tuesday threatened a partial government shutdown if Congress does not approve the amount of funding he's seeking for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

— Julia Manchester