GOP 2012 candidates walk tightrope on immigration

November 29, 2011 - 5:01 PM

AMHERST, N.H. (AP) — Republican candidates for president are tying themselves in knots over immigration.

Newt Gingrich has called for a "humane" approach but has been defending that stance from attack by his opponents since he took it. On Monday, he endorsed a South Carolina measure allowing police to demand a person's immigration status during a traffic stop.

Rick Perry signed legislation in Texas allowing in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants. But he campaigned in New Hampshire Tuesday with hard--line Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio (ar-PEYE'-oh) to ease concerns.

Mitt Romney takes a tough stance. But during his 2008 campaign he endorsed allowing some illegal immigrants to stay in the country.

Does it matter to voters? Many in early-nominating states say the economy trumps immigration as an important issue.