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Immigration Suddenly Roiling Presidential Race

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are courting the nation’s swelling Hispanic population as immigration emerges as a big issue in the presidential contest.

Both candidates are to address the same Latino political convention in Florida by week’s end. The speeches come as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on a get-tough Arizona law and a week after the Democratic president announced plans to ease immigration laws for some children of illegal immigrants.

Each side is crafting aggressive strategies to appeal to Hispanics, who have supported Democrats in recent elections. So far Obama is outspending Romney in Spanish-language advertising.

The stakes are high for a number of presidential battleground states. The United States’ Latino population surged from about 35 million in 2000 to 50 million in 2010.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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