The battle now turns to the House where it faces an uncertain future. The Republican Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), speaking for the majority of the caucus, says that the party would oppose any attempt at immigration reform that offers a "pathway to citizenship" for people living in the United States illegally. The Democrats have said that that this would kill the bill. Still, the political implications would be better for Democrats than Republicans. The Democrats would rather rely on Republican opposition to immigration reform than to further mobilize Hispanic voters against the GOP.
Knowing their preference, Sen. McCain has sought to warn House Republicans that the party's political prospects are doomed if they fail to act. According to McCain, "Republicans realize the implications of the future of the Republican Party in America if we don’t get this issue behind us."
The problem is that its activist Tea Party caucus finds as much wrong with the Republican establishment as it does with Democrats. And they're not inclined to compromise on this issue. The last time the party had real leadership was under President George W. Bush. Since he left the presidency, he has kept a very low profile but recently resurfaced to promote immigration reform. It remains to be seen whether or not he can influence the Tea Party contingency. But the politics of immigration reform, whether it's adopted or not, works against the Republican Party. Ultimately, they need to garner a growing percentage of Hispanic voters if they want to regain the presidency. From 1968 through 1992, the Republicans won the presidency five times out of six elections. Since then, they’ve won only two out of six.
The demographic tide is working against them. And those that understand this reality know that that they will have to pivot on immigration reform or risk being a permanent minority.