Immigration becoming key GOP issue

07/13/15 The Boston Globe

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006In 2004, it was the Iraq War. In 2008 and 2012, it was the economy.

And as 2016 approaches, immigration has become the presidential race’s most divisive issue in the GOP primary — with ramifications that could extend until next November.

Well before Donald Trump’s comments debasing Mexican immigrants and a San Francisco woman’s death allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant earlier this month, voters peppered candidates with immigration questions in town hall meetings across the Granite State.

“Immigration has been a question in every event I have gone to for months and months,” former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina said in an interview during her five-day swing in New Hampshire last week.

The candidates’ stances on immigration have become, for some GOP voters, a litmus test to determine whether a hopeful is conservative, moderate, or somewhere in between. Their positions often denote whether they stand with the traditional GOP stronghold of business — which generally support a pathway to legal status for the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants — or with the populist base, who foremost want to secure the southern border.

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