President Trump is signaling he will make immigration the centerpiece of his 2020 re-election campaign, Morning Consult political reporter Eli Yokley said Thursday on Hill.TV.

“This is the issue Donald Trump wants to make the election about. He’s gone out there in the rally or even since the Mueller report and made a big deal about immigration,” Yokley told Jamal Simmons on “What America’s Thinking.”

“Trump says the Republican Party is the party of healthcare. I think one more accurate phrase is that the Republican Party is the party of immigration right now,” he added.

In the latest Hill-HarrisX poll, 42 percent of registered voters said they trusted Republicans more than Democrats on immigration issues, while 37 percent said they trusted Democrats more. Compared to a February survey, confidence in the GOP on immigration has remained the same, while trust in Democrats has declined 3 percentage points.

“Whenever you ask a Republican what their top issues are, top ones are immigration and reforming the wall,” Yokley said. “These issues drive Donald Trump’s base.”

While immigration has proven effective at motivating GOP voters, Trump has repeatedly faced difficulties implementing hard-line policies against illegal immigrants. The president has lost several key court cases recently and has been stymied by congressional Democrats ever since they took control of the House in January.

But the administration has had more success in the executive branch. Several top officials at the Department of Homeland Security have stepped down this week, including agency chief Kirstjen Nielsen.

—Philip Wang

Featured clips