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  Immigration debate unifies California GOP
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Last EditedRP  Dec 06, 2007 04:40pm
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MediaNewspaper - Los Angeles Times
News DateWednesday, December 5, 2007 10:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionThirteen years after a ballot measure against illegal immigration fractured the state Republican Party, the issue again is front and center in California's upcoming presidential primary.

Moderates who have argued that an unyielding stance against illegal immigration would further erode the party's strength in this increasing polyglot state have effectively been silenced by GOP forces calling for a hard-line crackdown.

The escalating rhetoric in the GOP presidential primary has fed their retreat.

The issue packs some familiar political baggage for the state Republican Party, which still feels the aftershocks of Proposition 187, the landmark 1994 voter initiative to cut off services to illegal immigrants.

The alienation of Latinos, the fastest-growing group in the state, has been the source of worry in GOP circles ever since, particularly as the party's share of the vote has ebbed. Republicans now make up less than 34% of the electorate, far outnumbered by Democrats and the independent voters who typically side with them.
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