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And while conservative House Republicans will try to remove him as their leader, passing reform with a road map to citizenship will allow the Republican Party to move past one of the issues that divides the party the most.
This will allow the party’s next presidential candidate the opportunity to better compete for Asian and Latino voters. A Republican presidential candidate that can attract at least 40 percent of Latinos, as George W. Bush did in 2004, could very well win the White House and help downballot Republican candidates who are running for state and local offices.
Indeed Boehner’s decision to allow such a bill to come up for a vote will be risky, but with it he will effectively help save his party’s long-term national competitiveness.
Passing a bill with a path to citizenship in the House will be Boehner’s key legislative achievement to date. History can conceivably paint him as the redeemer of his party — a champion of civil rights, a protector of our national security and a booster of our economy.
The next move is Boehner’s.
He can choose to make his decision based on the doomsday scenario that some have painted, or he can embrace the consequential opportunities that are before him and those that involve his legacy and his party’s national viability.
Maria Teresa Kumar is president and CEO of Voto Latino.