Increased migration of foreign workers to the U.S. has introduced concerns over illegal immigration's (search) impact on jobs and social services — concerns once reserved for border states such as Arizona, California and Texas.
And President Bush's plan to grant amnesty to some undocumented workers may have moved the issue higher on the public's agenda.
Atlanta-based political commentator Dick Williams said he was surprised while attending a GOP rally.
"When the subject of immigration came up, the crowd came to life," said Williams. "The crowd was on fire. So, all the candidates in the Republican primary stood up and expressed opposition to President Bush's proposals and called for a more law and order kind of thing."
Republican political consultant Mark Rountree says when asking voters to list the most serious problems in their community, illegal immigration rarely comes up. But when asked specifically about the issue, most have strong opinions.
"When I'm talking to people, I don't sense them suddenly not supporting Bush because he proposed it," said Rountree. "But it's brought up as an issue and topic of conversation."
Appearing tough on immigration plays well with many conservative voters. And after witnessing the trickle-down effect the Sept. 11 attacks (search) had on the entire nation's economy, Americans no longer consider border security an issue for border states alone.
Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Jonathan Serrie.