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Originally published Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 12:12 PM

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THE RACE: Ruling lifts immigration profile in race

The new spotlight on immigration policy gives President Barack Obama a welcome opportunity - to talk about something other than the listless economy.

Associated Press

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The new spotlight on immigration policy gives President Barack Obama a welcome opportunity - to talk about something other than the listless economy.

Obama seized a fresh chance to energize Latino voters by the Supreme Court's split decision on Arizona's 2010 immigration law and his own recent announcement that his administration wouldn't deport most illegal immigrants brought here as children.

Both Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney are courting the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group. Hispanics now are 17 percent of the U.S. population.

And polls show Obama with a big advantage. A recent Gallup poll of registered Hispanics puts him at 66 percent approval to Romney's 24 percent.

"No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like," Obama said after justices struck down the harshest parts of Arizona's immigration law Monday but upheld a "show me your papers" provision that lets police check immigration status.

Obama said Arizona police shouldn't enforce the provision in a way that undermines civil rights.

Romney, who happened to be in Arizona, complained states have "less authority, less latitude" under the high court's decision. He also used the occasion to renew attacks on Obama's lack of progress on immigration reform, saying he'd tackle it during his first year.

Immigration policy is an explosive issue in November elections, particularly in southern states bordering Mexico.

Both candidates still stress jobs and the economy at every stop. It remains the top issue for voters.

But the recovery lately has slowed and that plays to Romney's business-background strengths. And it has Obama looking for other subjects to talk about besides an economy that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

After campaigning Monday night in Boston, Obama headed south Tuesday for fundraisers in Atlanta and Miami. Romney campaigned in Virginia.

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Follow Tom Raum on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tomraum. For more AP political coverage, look for the 2012 Presidential Race in AP Mobile's Big Stories section. Also follow https://twitter.com/APCampaign and AP journalists covering the campaign: https://twitter.com/AP/ap-campaign-2012

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