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Trump at a rally in Arizona. Ralph Freso/Getty Images

With just 17 days left until the election, President Trump is going all in on immigration as a way to help Republicans keep the House. “Democrats want to throw your borders wide open to deadly drugs and endless gangs,” he said at an Arizona rally last night.

Why it matters: Republicans have a 16% chance of keeping the House, according to FiveThirtyEight. That certainly worries Trump — who's already said it won't be his fault if that happens — so he's making the 2018 midterms all about the base.

Be smart: Immigration in 2018 isn't about policy; it's about both sides making a cultural argument to turn out their base voters. Democrats call to abolish ICE while Republicans claim Democrats want open borders and support MS-13 gangs.

Democrats worry immigration is an emotional and powerful issue that drives Republican voters to the polls, especially with stories like the undocumented immigrant accused of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts.

The big picture: The GOP hasn't been able to effectively talk about health care (after failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act) and their tax law isn't polling well around the country. But immigration and stoking fear about Mexican immigrants propelled Trump to the White House in 2016, so he's forcing the GOP back into that conversation.

Think back to October 2016. That's when Trump introduced the phrase "bad hombres," vowing to deport all of them from the U.S.

  • He repeated the conspiracy theory that border patrol agents were speeding up immigrants' applications — even those with a criminal record — "so they can go and vote" in our 2016 presidential election.  
  • Exit polls from that election showed Trump crushed Hillary Clinton among voters who ranked immigration as the most important issue, winning them by 31 percentage points. And 73% of Trump voters ranked immigration as "very high importance" to them and their 2016 vote.

The bottom line: As a Republican national strategist told me this week, "The GOP closing argument will be all about immigration and stopping Democrats from controlling Congress."

Go deeper: Caravan of Honduran immigrants advances into Mexico

Go deeper

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

Lawsuit challenging Houston Methodist's COVID vaccine mandate dismissed

Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit brought by 117 Houston Methodist staff over the hospital's policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: This is the first federal court ruling on a coronavirus vaccine mandate. Attorney Jared Woodfill, representing the plaintiffs, told KHOU 11 it's "the first battle in a long fight," as he vowed to file another lawsuit soon.

G7 leaders to announce plan to phase out gasoline cars

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks next to President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, England, on Saturday. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

G7 leaders are set to outline Sunday a range of measures to tackle climate change, including "ending almost all direct government support" for fossil fuels and phasing out gasoline and diesel cars.

Driving the news: The plan was outlined in a British government announcement Saturday, which states that the leaders will also agree to halting "all unabated coal as soon as possible."

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