But that 40 million figure doesn’t include illegal immigrants and permanent legal residents, which number 7.1 million and 5.4 million, respectively.
And if there is a path to citizenship for these immigrants, it will only increase the already fast-rising clout of the Latino vote, which could be twice as big as it is now by 2030, according to Pew. What’s more, it’s hard to see former illegal immigrants and permanent residents voting against the party that gave them a path to citizenship.
Immigration, of course, isn’t the only issue that matters to Latino voters — and too often coverage of them suggests it is — but it is an issue which is very important to a very large portion of these voters.
And if immigration reform gets done without the GOP being on board, whether in this Congress or in the near future, it will be even worse for Republicans than 2012 was. Whatever problems they have with Latinos now, they will pale to the day when the GOP is matched up against a Democratic Party that successfully passed immigration reform without much or any Republican involvement.