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Texas Republicans Take Hard Line On Immigration

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Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, questions John Bradley during a hearing by members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009, in Austin, Texas. Legislators heard testimony from Bradley, the new chairman of the revamped forensic science commission, and attempted to learn the status of the case of executed convicted killer Cameron Todd Willingham. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Republicans are taking hard-line stances on immigration ahead of the March 4 primary elections to win support from the party's base, while Democrats are hoping those policies will convince more Hispanics to vote for them.

Candidates for Texas governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general responded to an Associated Press questionnaire on the subject, their answers highlighting a growing philosophical rift between Texas Republicans and the national party's more moderate policies intended to attract more minorities.

But campaign consultants say illegal immigration is a top issue for Republican voters in Texas, who want their candidates to implement tough policies, including placing state police on the border. Candidates are distancing themselves from past policies that Gov. Rick Perry once defended, such as in-state tuition for the children of immigrants in the country illegally, and taking a far more militant approach.

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