When Mitt Romney lost last November, the Republican establishment decided that his moderately hawkish stance on immigration had been a major cause of his defeat. Never mind that his share of the Hispanic vote was within the margin of error of McCain’s 2008 share. Never mind the significant drop in white turnout. There is little elite constituency for a hawkish approach to immigration, and much elite support for lax enforcement and increased legal immigration (Romney actually supported the latter).
So the Republican establishment turns its hopeful eyes, once again, to so-called comprehensive immigration reform. The same senators who pushed such a bill in 2007, prominently including Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chuck Schumer, are at it again. They have devised a plan that would ease the path to legality for illegal immigrants while making some gestures toward enforcement. But a new element this time around is Marco Rubio.