Illegal Immigration: Legitimate Political Issue or Not?

On Wednesday's front page, congressional reporter Carl Hulse notes that illegal immigration is a legitimate national issue, albeit via some loaded ideological language ("In Bellwether District, G.O.P. Runs on Immigration").

"It was not by chance that Republicans brought their summer tour of hearings on illegal immigration to this growing community just outside Denver.

"Not only is Aurora bearing the costs of schooling and providing other services for a significant population of illegal immigrants, it is in the heart of a swing district and so is central to the intense battle for control of the House of Representatives.

"And while Congress is unlikely to enact major immigration legislation before November, inaction does not make the issue any less potent in campaigning. In fact, many Republicans, on the defensive here and around the country over the war in Iraq, say they are finding that a hard-line immigration stance resonates not just with conservatives, who have been disheartened on other fronts this year, but also with a wide swath of voters in districts where control of the House could be decided."

Hulse better tell colleague Rachel Swarns, who wondered on August 7 what Republicans were doingvisiting districts far from the border:"But some Democratic and Republican lawmakers said the schedule of the hearings had only heightened their concerns that the Republican leadership was using immigration as a weapon in the battle over fiercely contested House and Senate seats around the country. Several immigration hearings are being held far from the border with Mexico, in districts where Republican lawmakers are engaged in competitive races for the House...."