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Central American migrants traveling toward the U.S. border. Photo: Pepp Companys/AFP via Getty Images

Nothing stirs President Trump’s most radical ideas like immigration. And nothing so stirs his willingness to entertain what some consider illegal or wrong.

Between the lines: People who know Trump well say his obsession is fueled by a combination of goading from Fox, the president's recognition that his signature campaign promise is unmet, and his frustration with restrictions on his power.

Trump doesn't fixate on China, or even the economy, like this:

  • He imposed the Muslim travel ban a week into his presidency.
  • He considered an unconstitutional plan to end birthright citizenship, the right to citizenship for non-citizens' babies who are born here.
  • He focused his campaign on a border wall that proved logistically and financially infeasible.
  • He continued to insist on the wall, leading to the 35-day government shutdown.
  • He threatened to close the southern border, which even Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said would have a "potentially catastrophic economic impact."
  • He wants to move migrants to far-off sanctuary cities run by Democrats.

Think of all the internal relationships that immigration helped sour or destroy (all these are formers): Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, chief of staff John Kelly, economic adviser Gary Cohn — and more.

So why?

  • Trump is genuinely frustrated that two years into his presidency, he hasn't built the wall he promised, and he hasn't reduced the flow of asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants into the U.S. In fact, the numbers are going up.
  • The issue is highlighted above all others by the news outlet he focuses on most, Fox News. That raises his blood pressure every day.
  • He can't understand why he's not allowed to have total control over who enters the U.S. across the southern border.

Go deeper: Inside Trump's hardline new border plan

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Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

German election: Social Democrats narrowly beat Angela Merkel's bloc

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BERLIN — The center-left Social Democratic Party (SDP) clinched a narrow victory in Germany's historic federal elections on Sunday, just four years after suffering its worst loss since World War II.

Why it matters: It's a stunning political comeback for the SPD, paving the way for its chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz to form a new governing coalition and lead Europe's largest economy into the post-Merkel era.

Updated 23 hours ago - Economy & Business

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, Oregon, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4pm, Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Liz Cheney: Americans deserve better than choice of Biden or Trump

Rep. Liz Cheney talks with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS News

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Americans "deserve better than having to choose between" President Biden's "disastrous" policies and former President Trump, "who violated his oath of office."

Why it matters: Cheney made the remarks after CBS' Lesley Stahl put it to her in the interview that Republicans feel that her joining the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot helps "keep the focus on Trump instead of on the shortcomings of the Biden administration."