|Who will it help Republicans with?
I believe that immigration reform should help Republicans with a lot of swing or potential swing voters. There are certainly a lot of minorities who'll never vote GOP, but there are others who fit the GOP profile in income, age, education et al who could. I maintain that the biggest hurdle for Republicans with these people is that the party is perceived as racist/sexist/xenophobic/homophobic and full of religious people who want to impose their religion on you. Any immigration package can soften and possibly eliminate this image, at least with some people.
As we know, the minority population is increasing and it's not just increasing in a few states. Hispanics aren't that important in Georgia now, but some day they will be.
These potential swing voters aren't just minorities, but Whites who perceive the GOP this way. A lot of these people are suburban swing voters in places like Philadelphia and Virginia that are very valuable to Republicans. What's more is that we steal these voters from Democrats.
This is also a win with business. The Chamber of Commerce and the Club for Growth have been calling for immigration reform that'll provide businesses with legal employees. Of course the businesses who'll like Republicans for this may already be voting Republican. Still, it's nice to have those who spend money on elections with you and not trying to bring down people who vote for it.
Who will it hurt Republicans with?
Any package will draw the ire of some in talk radio and in the blogosphere. Immigration reform opponents are certainly loud. That's how it died in 2007. You are going to get a backlash from movement conservatives. Some will stay home. Some will find a third party to vote for. But will we really lose a lot of these people?
The GOP strayed from party ideology on spending in 2001-2007 and while we lost some people it certainly wasn't that many. They may complain but they'll still vote Republican.
Blue collar Whites could be an issue. The GOP's hold on some of them is tenuous. I don't know what percent oppose immigration reform, but I'm sure some could take another look at the Democratic party as a result. Of course it's likely Republicans will still be to the right of Democrats on the issue.
What should it consist of?
A path to citizenship is a definite no no electorally. You're creating people who are likely to vote Democratic heavily. It has to be something perceived as compassionate, so we can take aim at the idea we lack compassion. it has to address our business allies needs for employees. If we're doing this we have to make sure it delivers to our supporters.
We need to do something. One of the problems on issues like immigration, gay marriage, and climate change is that we seem to be against things and not have a clear vision of what we're for.
I'd much rather have a Republican bill than a Democratic one and the GOP needs to earn points with Latinos and other minority groups.
Please throw in your two cents, but let's keep it to whether it'll help or hurt Republicans electorally and leave arguments of whether providing a solution that allows illegal immigrants to stay in this country is the right or wrong thing to do for somewhere else.