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Republicans scramble for the center on immigration



Published: Fri, February 8, 2013 @ 10:43 a.m.

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — It was little surprise when freshman Rep. Mike Coffman in 2010 voted against a bill to grant citizenship to some young illegal immigrants. After all, the Republican Marine Corps veteran had just won the seat in Congress formerly held by firebrand Rep. Tom Tancredo, who had pushed the party to take a harder stance against illegal immigration.

The bill, known as the DREAM Act, died in the Senate.

Now Coffman has changed course. He has introduced legislation to let unauthorized immigrants brought into the country as children to earn citizenship if they serve in the military.

And he spoke hopefully about an immigration overhaul that a bipartisan group of senators outlined last week.

Since the November elections, many other Republicans nationwide have tempered their tone on immigration — if not reversed course completely — after years of tacking right to appeal to grass-roots activists who dominate GOP primaries.

On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor became the latest high-profile Republican to shift gears. A leader of the conservative caucus and previous opponent of the DREAM Act, Cantor called for allowing illegal immigrants brought here as children to become citizens.


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