Trump Returns to Texas to Hone 2020 Immigration Message

WASHINGTON — Fifteen days before the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump held a rally in Texas to deliver dire warnings about immigration that helped Ted Cruz, the embattled Republican senator, win his campaign for a second term.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump will return to Texas to raise money and sharpen his anti-immigration message for his own White House re-election campaign next year.

In the five months since he barnstormed the country declaring that an “invasion” of dangerous migrants was imminent, Mr. Trump has intensified his focus on immigration. He and his strategists believe that no issue better fires up his core supporters and proves that he has kept his campaign promises. The issue is certain to be at the center of the president’s case for a second term in the Oval Office.

In the last several days, Mr. Trump has forced out Kirstjen Nielsen, his Homeland Security secretary, and several other top immigration officials for being too timid about shutting down the border and changing asylum rules to deny entry to migrants seeking protection in the United States. A top administration official said Tuesday that the staffing changes were designed to make way for more aggressive immigration actions.

As he arrives in San Antonio and Houston on Wednesday for a series of fund-raisers and round tables with supporters, Mr. Trump will not be alone in discussing the importance of immigration and America’s role in confronting the plight of displaced people.

Julián Castro, the former housing secretary under President Barack Obama and now a Democratic presidential candidate, will host a rally in his hometown, San Antonio, that will focus on immigration, setting up a split screen in this border state that underscores the issue’s potency for 2020. Mr. Castro’s rally is expected to feature English and Spanish speakers and is being billed by his campaign as an opportunity for San Antonio, with its significant, longstanding Mexican-American population, to show its resistance to Mr. Trump and his border ideology.

By Michael D. Shear and Sydney Ember for THE NEW YORK TIMES

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