The Wash Times is carrying a pretty weak story about how the leading Dem presidential candidates are "for" immigration, including allowing illegals to become citizens, and how they all know this will cost them votes. But hey, aren't pols all about principles rather than pandering?
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who's about as pro-immigrant as you can get in either major party, says, "It's a bad vote [being in favor of letting illegals become citizens]. It loses you votes. I've never found anybody that won on immigration." That's dubious to begin with, but what Richardson might have done was point to a couple of midterm elections from his part of the country (well, Arizona), where GOP anti-immigrant candidates (J.D. Hayworth, Randy Graff) got their asses kicked. Surely, their hyper-restrictionist views on immigration were a major factor. As Dave Weigel pointed out, those losers were not alone in being losers when it came to immigration.
One reason: a vast majority of Americans–78 percent, in a recent USA Today/Gallup Poll–feel that illegals who are already here should be eligible for some form of amnesty. Indeed, even in the Wash Times article cites a Univ. of Iowa poll of likely caucus-goers in the Hawkeye State found that "among both Republicans and Democrats, more than half of likely caucus-goers said they supported allowing 'undocumented immigrants to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain criteria like learning English and paying back taxes.'"
So pols can relax about being pro-illegal immigrants getting citizenship in some way. Or rather, stop posturing that they are being brave when in fact they are supporting a very popular policy.
Reason's reality-based guide to immigration policy here.