Republicans scramble for the center on immigration

By By NICHOLAS RICCARDI

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — Many Republicans have softened their tone on immigration since November, after years of tacking right to appeal to grass-roots activists who dominate primaries.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is an example. He opposed the DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for certain immigrants brought here as youths. But on Tuesday, the conservative leader backed that idea.

Here's the reason: Last fall, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won only 27 percent support from Hispanics and even less from Asians. An AP-GFK poll last month showed 62 percent of voters wanted to let otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants eventually become citizens, up 12 percentage points from 2010.

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