The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 2, 2013

May Day activists cheer state immigration laws

(Continued)

"If Republicans would change their stance on immigration, we would probably vote Republican," said Victor Mena, an Oregon resident. Mena supports immigrants' rights in part because he has family members who live in the U.S. without legal permission.

His attitude is indicative of a national trend, as more than 7 in 10 Hispanic voters supported Obama for re-election.

"Every level and stripe of every party has gotten the memo that Latinos are an important voting bloc," said Feliz, of the American Immigration Council.

The GOP has softened its stance on the issue, evidenced by the federal immigration overhaul negotiations and the bipartisan support some state-level proposals are receiving.

Still, there are those who disagree.

"We seem to be reaching out and inviting them to stay through policies like this, rather discouraging illegal behavior," said Oregon Republican Rep. Kim Thatcher.

She says her state, and to a degree, her party, is moving the wrong direction on immigration.

"It's not about appealing to voters," Thatcher said. "I believe it's about doing the right thing."

___

AP Writers Pat Condon in St. Paul, Minn., Ivan Moreno in Denver and Will Weissert in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

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