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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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June 27th, 2013
07:18 PM ET

Analysis: Bumpy road in the House for immigration reform

The U.S. Senate gave final approval Thursday to a sweeping immigration bill, passing the legislation by a 68-32 vote.

The bill promises to overhaul immigration laws for the first time since 1986, creating a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented residents while ratcheting up security along the Mexican border.

It's all in the hands of the House now.

Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Paul Begala said that Republican support in the Senate suggests the importance of the issue to party strategists following the 2012 presidential election.

"On a national level, the Republicans know they need this. You have to do better with Latinos than Mitt Romney," said Begala.

One of the few Republicans to vote for the bill was Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida. The potential 2016 Republican candidate gave an impassioned defense of the bill in terms of his own family's history and biblical responsibility.

"Compared to 2007, there are many more evangelicals who are pro-immigration," said Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin. "His approach all along has been to redefine and re-calibrate an alliance that is bigger and more sustainable."

But many representatives in Congress come from "all white" districts, said Begala, where the incentive to vote for immigration reform is considerably lower.

"There are 232 Republicans in the House, 142 have zero percentage of Latinos in their districts," said Begala. "In fact, they might be punished for doing this."

Ramesh Ponnuru, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, agreed.

"If [House Majority Leader John] Boehner lets it pass with Republican votes, he has a very short speakership ahead of him," said Ponnuru.

Check out the video above for the full analysis of the challenges the immigration bill faces in the House.

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