With primary season nearly over, we’re approaching what is undoubtedly the last chance for Congress to act on immigration reform before the midterm elections. For the past two years, no issue has loomed larger over Washington. Because of its importance to the future of the Republican Party and because it’s a rare issue with bipartisan support, gaming out the twists and turns of a possible legislative path for immigration reform has become a Beltway obsession.
After Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012—an election in which Hispanics voted for Barack Obama by a 71-27 margin—overhauling the nation’s immigration laws and granting legal status to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. were supposed to be GOP imperatives. As the Republican National Committee urged in its postelection autopsy, “We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.”