What should Republican lawmakers do about immigration? That’s been a simmering source of controversy ever since George W. Bush‘s push for so-called comprehensive immigration legislation, with legalization and enforcement provisions, in 2006.
Most liberals and many economic conservatives argued that support for such legislation was a political imperative for Republicans. Otherwise they would continue to lose Hispanic voters, an inevitably increasing segment of the electorate, by 2-1 margins.
That argument was bolstered by the 2004 exit poll, which showed comprehensive immigration supporter George W. Bush getting 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. That percentage may have been inflated, but if Bush had received the percentages of John McCain (31) or Mitt Romney (27), he would probably not have been re-elected.
Republican opponents of comprehensive immigration respond that granting citizenship to illegals would enfranchise millions of Hispanics who would vote heavily Democratic on economic issues.