A well-publicized study in 2012 found that as Americans learn more about the number of such immigrants in the country, their support for tough enforcement and for lowering overall immigration into the U.S. increases. When stated in even remotely neutral terms, Americans oppose measures to liberalize immigration by overwhelming margins. In the midterm election exit polls, restrictionist positions were supported by margins running nearly four to one.

MORE PERSPECTIVES

PAUL WALDMAN
Pope Francis will not help your political cause

RYAN COOPER
The scourge of white poverty
Rubio has backtracked from his support of the “Gang of Eight” bill that passed the Senate in 2013 but never passed in the House. He has said he learned a lesson — and will be tougher next time. Rubio got hammered this week for supposedly abandoning his earlier liberal positions, and saying that under his preferred system a path to citizenship would not be available for more than a decade. In fact, this is not substantially different from the full 13-year waiting period in the Gang of Eight bill.

Even if he backs away from that bill, his support for it will be fair game. That piece of legislation will become a piñata for any candidate with the sense to whack it. The undercooked law has scores of bullet points that will make fine lines in any attack ad in Iowa or New Hampshire. Here are just a few that occur to me…