Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Immigration reform could be bonanza for Democrats” says the story in Politico. And I’m not buying it, not for a second, nor, it appears, is anyone else. The New York Times’s Nate Silver took Politico to task for assuming all illegal immigrants in this country are Latino. Nate Cohn of the New Republic slammed the story for its assumption “that every undocumented worker will become a citizen, and that every new citizen will vote in the 2028 election.” As Talking Points Memo points out, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) pushed back on the Politico story by making the same criticisms and more.

My skeptical view of the story was fueled by a study I wrote about in the aftermath of the 2012 election. The conservative nonprofit research group Resurgent Republic did a report on the Hispanic electorate that was packed with stunning statistics. For instance, 50,000 Latinos in the U.S. will turn 18 every month for the next 20 years. But the chart that caught my attention separated ideology from party.


While 51 percent of the 10.9 million Latinos registered to vote are Democrats, 54 percent of them identify as “conservative.” That tells me the Republican Party is standing in its own way with this part of the electorate. If the GOP helps pass comprehensive immigration reform that allows folks to come out of the shadows with a path to citizenship, that would take the issue off the table for Latino voters and could allow them to hear the conservative ideals they say they identify with.

As Dick Armey said in the GOP autopsy, “You can’t call someone ugly and expect them to go to the prom with you.” And once comprehensive immigration reform is done, there’s no way that Democrats will be the sole beneficiaries.

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Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.