A piece in the NYTimes the other day is worth a careful read. It restates what we all know, but in a way that shows just how intractable this issue is going to be for the Republican Party into the foreseeable future. Right now, in Iowa, it's making life hell for McCain, who is in the process of straight talking his way into a flip flop on this crucial issue. He used to espouse the "humane" path-to-citizenship etc. view, but the fact that Little George W himself holds that same position should be enough to tell us that concern for humanity is not what's driving this train.
And indeed it isn't. Big Business interests (in Iowa see meatpacking plants) also hold that position (behind the scenes) and, in case you didn't know how "humane" they are likely to be in this area, there's another recent NYTimes piece about "guest worker" programs you should check out. So there is HUGE pressure from the classic Republican base (Wealth) for loose immigration policies.
On the other hand, you've got the new Republican base, the one they've been catering to since Nixon's "southern strategy," namely the one that's laced with racism and/or chauvinism of varying degrees of virulence. What showed on Brit Hume's face when he called workers marching with Mexican flags in American cities a "repellent spectacle" is an intense loathing that is consuming more and more people in that new base. This is gut level I-hate-the-sight-of-them in my home town stuff. It's spreading fast. Soon it will be competing with abortion as a single issue vote decider.
Oh, and this isn't going to go away any time soon.
I love it when wedges turn into vises.