The leading candidates for governor agree on one thing.
Democrat Beverly Perdue and Pat McCrory both want to crack down on illegal immigration. Perdue wants to lock illegal immigrants out of community colleges, while McCrory is seeking a new federal detention center to house deportees.
Perdue charges McCrory with allowing illegal immigrants to work on city projects, while Republican mailers bash Perdue for "rollling out the red carpet."
The phenomenon has continued even as immigration has lost prominence among voters. A recent poll showed it was a major issue for only 2 percent of voters, compared to 15 percent a year ago.
But political strategies say that it's still a solid bet in a state with a growing Spanish-speaking population but only a small number of Hispanic voters.
"Citizens of this country want the rule of law respected, and they want the borders secure," said Republican consultant Marc Rotterman. "People don't want to have to pay for health care or welfare or emergency room care for people who come here illegally. ... The overwhelming majority believe this is an English-speaking country." (N&O)