By Neil Munro
January 4, 2012

In this Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 photo, immigrant Francisco Barranco, right, stands in his bakery La Tapatia, as employee Lorena Vasquez prepares gelatin in the Fair Haven neighborhood in New Haven, Conn. John DeStefano, the 10-term mayor of New Haven, helped illegal immigrants come out of the shadows five years ago with an ID card program. When he pledged recently to seek authorization for non-citizens to vote in local elections, it endeared him further to the city’s large Hispanic population and solidified New Haven’s reputation as a “sanctuary city” _ safe harbors that have become targets for criticism in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Multiple Democratic pundits are making a coordinated allegation that the popular immigration enforcement policies embraced by Republican presidential candidates are “extreme” and have deeply damaged the GOP’s prospects among Hispanic Americans.

“The Democrats say that every four years, and its nonsense,” Jason Poblete, a Hispanic lawyer who formerly worked for
the National Committee, told The Daily Caller. GOP candidates can win up to 40 percent of the redistribution-minded Hispanic vote by treating them like other voters, he said.

“I don’t think there is anything these [Republican] candidates are saying that is not supported by at last 40 percent of Americans. … Some of the things they’re pushing have 80 percent support,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The charges of electoral damage were pushed by Democratic activists, including Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Bill Burton, a former Obama aide, who now runs an independent political group, Priorities USA Action.

Democrats see Hispanics, especially first-time voters, as a vital voting bloc in the November election. Their strategy is to spur Hispanic turnout for Obama to above 65 percent by portraying the GOP’s opposition to illegal immigration as bigotry towards the Hispanic population of 50 million.

Hispanics may provide a winning margin in several critical states, including Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia.

The United States now hosts an illegal immigrant population of roughly 11 million Hispanics. The population of non-Hispanic illegal immigrants is smaller.