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PHOENIX -- The 2012 presidential election "sealed the deal" on the necessity of immigration reform for both parties, a Valley political analyst said.

Mike O'Neil said it is no mystery why some Republicans are pushing so hard for immigration reform. President Barack Obama clobbered Mitt Romney last November with the Latino vote.

In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush had 44 percent of the Latino vote. Last November, Romney captured less than 30 percent.

"They look at the changing demographics in this country and see it goes a little less white every year and say, 'Unless we do something about this, we are a permament minority party.'"

O'Neil said Republicans are organizing a push for comprehensive immigration reform -- that includes Arizona senators Jeff Flake and John McCain and a potential presidental candidate in 2016, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida -- to put the immigration issue behind the party.

O'Neil said fellow Republicans may give them flak and some will say a pathway to citizenship is amnesty.

"The most likely scenario is that the House and Senate Republican leadership permits a vote and it passes with most of the Democratic vote and just enough Republican votes to give an overall majority."

Jim Cross, Reporter

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