Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns in Tampa, Fla., on Monday.
Credit Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images
The issue of immigration, which barely simmered during the first three Republican presidential contests, could reach a boil now that the candidates have arrived in Florida for the state's Jan. 31 primary.
Florida, with its large and influential Latino population, provides the earliest gauge of the difficulty facing any eventual GOP nominee in courting Hispanic voters, who increasingly view Republicans' rhetoric about immigration as anti-Hispanic.
With Newt Gingrich beating Mitt Romney in South Carolina as soundly as the Johnny Rebels in 1861 thrashed the Billy Yanks at Bull Run (or the First Battle of Manassas, depending on your view), the Republican presidential nomination contest marches southward to Florida.
There in the Sunshine State, the campaign promises to be an even more hard- fought affair than in South Carolina, with both candidates battling for their party's conservative soul by out-righting each other.
Immigrants from Senegal protest against racism in Florence, Italy, on Dec. 17, 2011. Four days earlier, an Italian man killed two African street sellers and wounded three others in a shooting spree in Florence.
Originally published on Sun January 8, 2012 6:56 am
An effort to halt public benefits for undocumented students in California hit a snag Friday. As Bob Hensley of Capital Public Radio reports for NPR News, a petition to get the issue on the state ballot has failed:
Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative to rescind a law providing financial aid for California students who are illegally living in the state came up more than 55,000 signatures short.
So when the law goes into effect next year, it will allow undocumented students enrolled at public universities to apply for state loans and scholarships.