Immigration Key To GOP

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This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Immigration is a huge election year issue - especially for Republicans.

Out on the campaign trail the last few months, when Republicans start talking about how they're going to really crack down on illegal immigrants, you can literally see the crowds begin to churn. It's like throwing a bucket of chum into shark infested-waters.

There is, of course, speaking and then there is doing. The states to watch this year are Arizona and Oklahoma. Both have enacted tough new laws which heavily penalize employers who hire workers who are in the United States illegally.

Many employers have argued no one else will take the jobs. The same thing was said in the Midwest last summer when several meat packing plants were raided by the INS. Folks I know who live out there have told me those new job openings were filled because they raised the wages high enough to attract legal help.

Higher wages, doing right by workers, and staying on the right side of the law.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

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