The Republican Party could lose Latino voters for good if some form of immigration reform isn't passed, says Karl Rove, former adviser for President George W. Bush.
"This is a threshold issue," Rove said Thursday on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor."
"And if Republicans don't get past it, we may end up seeing the Latino vote go the way of the African-American vote. And that is totally in the Democratic column."
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Winning the Hispanic vote isn't the only thing Republicans need to do to capture the White House in 2016, Rove said, but it is one crucial component. Public perception is changing, he said, even among Republicans.
GOP candidates are able to get significant numbers of Hispanic voters in statewide elections in Texas, Rove noted. And George W. Bush got 44 percent of the Latino vote nationwide in 2004.
"Mitt Romney in Ohio got 42 percent of the Latino vote when he got past the issue of 'Send them all home,' and got on to the economic message," Rove said.
House Republicans have said they don't want to pass the comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate in June, preferring to tackle individual issues, such as border security, in separate bills. House Speaker John Boehner earlier Thursday told fellow Republicans
that the immigration system "needs to be fixed and Republicans ought to be part of the solution."
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