Governor Tom Vilsack, a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, is weighing in today on the issue of federal immigration policy. Vilsack backs what many Democrats and some Republicans support, so called “earned” citizenship status for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who live in the U.S. today.

“It makes sense to create a structure and system for those who are unauthorized workers to basically have them pay a fine to acknowledge that they entered this country improperly,” Vilsack says. “Have them pay back taxes. Learn the language. Make sure they understand the civics of this country and then put them at the back of the line to earn citizenship over a period of years.”

Rallies were held today in Ottumwa, Washington, Davenport and Iowa City on this National Day Without Immigrants and some businesses were closed because their immigrant workers staged a walk-out or — in the case of a trendy Des Moines restaurant called Centro — the business closed as a show of support for immigrants