The Washington Times - July 16, 2013, 03:53PM

Jorge Ramos, the top political anchor at Spanish-language network Univision, warned Republicans this week that they will lose the next presidential campaign unless the GOP-controlled House passes a bill legalizing illegal immigrants.

Mr. Ramos, who anchors the network’s Sunday political talk show “al Punto,” takes a different approach than his English-language colleagues in that he takes positions on issues — and in this case is a strong supporter of legalization.

SEE RELATED: Obama takes case for immigration reform to Spanish language TV

In a commentary in Spanish, which was translated and sent around by Americans United for Change, Mr. Ramos said House Republicans are trying to “attack and insult” Hispanics by opposing the legalization bill that passed the Senate last month.

“Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner has not learned the lessons of recent history. As one old priest at my high school: ‘See the storm and not the piling.’ If Boenher, as recently threatened, refuses to bring this issue to a vote, it would truly be committing political suicide,” Mr. Ramos wrote.

Hispanics delivered about 40 percent of their vote to then-President George W. Bush in his 2004 re-election bid, but that support dropped to 31 percent for 2008 GOP nominee Sen. John McCain and to 27 percent for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in last year’s election. Both Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain supported granting illegal immigrants citizenship rights, while Mr. Romney called for stricter deportation.

Pundits have sparred over how important Hispanics were in the overall margin of President Obama’s victory last year, but Mr. Ramos said they will total 16 million voters in 2016, and he said that will be the deciding factor in the presidential election.

Mr. Ramos’s commentary was dated Monday. On Tuesday Mr. Obama invited Spanish-language anchors from major cities to spend the day at the White House interviewing him and talking with high-level aides about the administration’s support for legalization.

Those interviews are slated to air later Tuesday.