Immigration Reform: Self-Interest or Pragmatism? [Opinion]

This toxic legislative dynamic will only get worse in the Republican-controlled House. Just a quick glance at the numbers makes clear how difficult the fight will be. Of the 234 Republican congressmen, 111 of them represent districts that are at least 80% white, places where the Latino vote is almost anecdotal. Even worse: 210 of those 234 Republican-held districts have less than a 25% Hispanic share of the vote. Surely, if politicians are animals bent essentially on self-preservation, those congressmen will struggle to come across individual incentives to support legislation that might endanger them against a more conservative Republican rival in the primaries. It is safe to assume that very few of them will want a "yes" vote on this particular issue on their resumé. It all might come down to political courage. In order for immigration reform to pass, a considerable number of Republicans will have to follow the road taken by Lindsey Graham and the brave few who decided to do their jobs even if it meant losing their jobs. But supporting immigration reform should be more than a moral issue. For Republicans, it should be about long-term preservation and pragmatism, a virtue seldom seen among the GOP nowadays. It's now almost a given that the Republican party will not survive – as a nationally competitive party, that is - if it keeps being perceived as the Big Saboteur of the Hispanic agenda.

Republicans might be able to keep their individual congressional seats in the coming years by rejecting immigration reform, but they'll be endangering their party's future. In the end, Republican congressmen have a decision to make: will they act merely out of self-interest or will they dare to be pragmatic and give their party a fighting chance with the powerful and growing Latino community? It might be the question that defines not only the fate of 11 million people but of the Grand Old Party itself.

Leon Krauze is the main anchor at Univision KMEX in Los Angeles.

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