Democratic support for immigrants -- legal and illegal -- is chipping away at their support from the party's historic base, working class voters, who believe that the newcomers are robbing jobs.
"The Democrats have moved from seeking to manage and champion the nation's growing immigrant diversity to seeming to champion immigrant rights over American citizens'," according to longtime Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg.
In his warning shot, the former pollster for Bill Clinton, who tracked a similar political shift in the 1980s when he discovered "Reagan Democrats" in Macomb County, Mich., said the difference this time is that many American minorities feel the same way as whites.
"The Democrats don't have a white working-class problem. They have a working-class problem," he said in his latest analysis of his party's woes. "Do not assume that African Americans do not share some of those concerns; many in our focus groups raise anxieties about competition from new immigrants," he added.
While he found that Americans still see immigrants as hard working, they do worry about the costs of immigration. More than 60 percent, according to Greenberg, believed granting legal status to illegal immigrants will "lead to greater competition for public services and more than half believe it would take jobs from American citizens."
And this is where it hurts Democrats: 41 percent believe immigrants "take jobs from U.S. citizens" and half believe legalization "would be a drain on government services."
Since the 2016 election, Greenberg has returned to Macomb County to gauge the effect of President Trump and he found that Trump supporters have doubled down on concerns. For example, he told the Prospect, "It was clear how central concerns about immigration, borders, foreignness, and Islam were to their receptivity to his call to take back America. Many thought [Hillary] Clinton, on the other hand, wanted ‘open borders."
While he is hoping that Democrats can eventually chart a path from "this ugly interlude," the Trump administration sees analysis like Greenberg's as support for its hardline stance on illegal immigration.
For example, a key Trump advisor recently said that the administration was open to a form of amnesty for illegals who have not committed a crime since entering the U.S.
But a senior White House official pushed back hard, telling Secrets, "It's an outside proposal, we get them all the time from all sides on all issues. The administration's position and priorities haven't changed."
And last week, the acting head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement warned all 11 million illegal immigrants that they are in jeopardy of being deported.
"If you are in this country illegally, and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable, you should should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried," said Thomas D. Homan.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com