Wall Street Journal
NOVEMBER 12, 2008
By JOEL MILLMAN  and JUNE KRONHOLZ 
The next administration's preoccupation with economic crises will likely prevent immigration advocates from capitalizing on steep losses suffered by their foes in last week's election, delaying any attempt to ease entry for people in the U.S. illegally.
Of the 13 House Republicans who lost their seats on Nov. 4, nine were members of the Immigration Reform Caucus, which has opposed a path to citizenship for the country's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. A 10th member, Virginia's Virgil Goode, is trailing in a race still too close to call.
In addition, caucus founder Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado is retiring, as is Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, another voice for increased border security and crackdowns on illegal immigration.
Watch an ad  from Sen. Elizabeth Dole on her work linking local sheriffs to a federal program targeting illegal immigrants.
Together, these losses shifted the political landscape on a problem that has defied solutions over the past two decades.
The camps break down roughly along these lines: Business and immigrant groups argue for a three-pronged approach that includes legalizing immigrants who overstayed visas or entered the U.S. illegally; enhancing border security; and admitting more workers as the economy needs them. Social conservatives and law-and-order Republicans have argued that the border should be secured before there is any plan to expand immigration.
Many Republican candidates' strong stand against illegal immigrants was read by voters as anti-Latino, and likely hurt incumbents in Florida, Virginia and Colorado. More than 100,000 newly naturalized citizens registered to vote in Florida, where Reps. Tom Feeney and Ric Keller, both members of the immigration-reform caucus, lost their seats.
Immigration wasn't the only issue in any of those races. But in a study to be released Wednesday, the pro-immigration group America's Voice found that of 20 races in which candidates drew sharp distinctions on immigration, hard-line "enforcement only" advocates lost in 18.