President Trump to hold campaign rally in downstate Illinois next week

US President Donald Trump addresses a "Make America Great Again" rally at Elko Regional Airport in Elko, Nevada, October 20, 2018. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. — President Donald Trump will hold a campaign rally in downstate Murphysboro, IL, this Saturday according to his campaign’s website.

The rally will take place the evening of October 27 inside a hangar at the Southern Illinois Airport, similar to other rallies where President Trump lands in Air Force One, and takes to the podium shortly after emerging from the plane.

On an aggressive campaign blitz, Trump has sought to cast the midterms as a referendum on his presidency, believing that he must insert himself into the national conversation in order to bring Republicans out to vote. Perhaps no issue was more identified with his last campaign than immigration, particularly his much-vaunted — and still-unfulfilled — promise to quickly build a U.S.-Mexico border wall. To Trump, his pledges are still rallying cries.

“I think it’s a big contrast point. All the Democrats are refusing to build the wall. It’s a good contrast,” said former Trump campaign aide Barry Bennett.

But some warn that as Trump seeks to pump up his base, he could energize opposition. Matt Barreto, co-founder of the research firm Latino Decision, said an elevated immigration message could hurt Trump, too.

“I think you run the risk of angering minority voters across the board, Latino, black and Asian-Americans and also alienating and distancing from whites, including conservatives and moderates, now that they see what’s happening with the family separations,” said Barreto, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Thursday night, the migrant caravan of at least 3,000, many waving Honduran flags and chanting slogans, arrived at the Guatemalan border with Mexico. On Friday, they broke down Guatemalan gates and streamed toward a bridge to Mexico. Most were repelled by Mexican police, but about 50 got through.

Mexico’s dispatching of additional police to its southern border seemed to please Trump. On Thursday night, he retweeted a BuzzFeed journalist’s tweet of a video clip showing the police deployment, adding his own comment: “Thank you Mexico, we look forward to working with you!”

Earlier in the day, Trump railed against the caravan on Twitter and declared it was “Democrats fault for weak laws!” He also threatened to deploy the military to the border if Mexico did not stop the migrants and appeared to threaten a revamped trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

Ahead of the midterms, polls continue to show that voters consider immigration among the most important issues, though generally falling behind the economy and health care.

However, Republican and Democratic voters have distinctly different views of immigration as a problem facing the country. A recent Pew Research Center survey found a majority of Democratic voters — 57 percent — think the treatment of immigrants in the country illegally is a very big problem in the U.S., compared with just 15 percent of Republican voters who say the same. By contrast, three-quarters of Republican voters call illegal immigration a very big problem, ranking the highest for Republicans among the long list on Pew’s survey, while just 19 percent of Democratic voters say the same.

Recently, surveys from CNN and The Washington Post/ABC News found voters were slightly more likely to think the Democratic Party would do a better job handling immigration than the Republican Party.