As reported by the Texas Tribune today, Rick Perry has accepted the endorsment of Joe Arpaio, the (in)famous sheriff from Maricopa County, Arizona (http://www.texastribune.org/texas-politics/2012-presidential-election/perry-get-nod-americas-toughest-sheriff/). Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich came under fire for his comments in a Republican debate, calling for a "humane" immigration policy, and later trying to turn the issue to his favor against his primary opponents(http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/gingirch-aims-to-turn-immigration-issue-on-foes/).
It is not surprising that candidates who may have been generally in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, including a guest worker program, may find it difficult to walk the minefield of immigration policy while pleasing the Republican base votes they are trying to attract. As I found at the Texas Tribune event in September (see earlier blog posts), even Republican legislators in Texas are willing to say in public that comprehensive immigration reform is needed (albeit while securing the borders). These issue will become even more important during the general election, when certain swing states may be tipped in one direction or another by hispanic voters. In the meantime, expect to hear more about increasing deportations, border walls/security and the failures of the federal government to control immigration.