It seems like so long ago when the Republican presidential candidates were battling to be the most anti-immigrant in order to win the nomination. But then John McCain won and it turned out that immigration might not be that big of a factor for the Republicans in this election after all. We've barely heard the word "immigration" mentioned since, and McCain has been making a concerted effort to court the Latino vote. But now some Republicans are hoping to raise the issue again, and threatening to stay home if their candidate "panders for the Hispanic vote." "[P]olitically, he'll kill himself and he'll kill us,'' Arizona state Representative Russell Pearce told Bloomberg, and vowed that there are more anti-immigrant votes out there than there are moderates who prefer McCain's approach to the issue.
There are, of course, others who think he might have already hurt himself by agreeing in a Republican debate last January that he would no longer support the immigration bill he cosponsored with Ted Kennedy in 2006. While he had support from Latino voters nationally for not taking up the anti-immigrant rhetoric of his party as well as support back in Arizona, many have found some of his posturing in this election distasteful.
The short of it is, immigration isn't a dead issue yet in this election, and it will likely be one that poses a challenge to McCain's attempts to balance his need to pander to his party with his own sensibilities on the subject.
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