AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — When young Texas conservatives announced a "catch an illegal immigrant" game, they expected condemnation from the left.
The surprise came when fellow Texas Republicans either denounced them or remained conspicuously silent.
Perhaps no incident better crystalizes how the state GOP is trying to mitigate immigration policies to win Hispanic support while holding to their conservative base.
Last week, some Republican candidates campaigned for votes in the Young Conservatives of Texas online straw poll while distancing themselves from the game sponsored by the group's University of Texas at Austin chapter.
The game gave Democrats yet another opportunity to paint Republicans as uncouth on Hispanic issues.
Conservatives have been staging such games since at least 2005, but the growing influence of Hispanic voters has made them no longer acceptable.