WASHINGTON -- As the immigration reform debate begins in earnest in the House, one of the biggest issues is the math. The bill needs 218 votes to pass. Democratic leaders said they think they can convince most of their party's 201 members to vote in favor. That means they'd need around 20 Republicans to join them. But House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has repeatedly insisted he will only allow the House to vote on an immigration reform plan if a majority of Republicans support it.
That would mean finding about 120 Republicans willing to back a plan that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which former GOP leadership aides said is almost impossible. Somewhere between 50 and 80 is a more realistic number, they said -- which means a potentially overwhelming majority of House members in favor of reform.
If it becomes clear that the House has far more votes than needed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, the pressure on Boehner to "let the House work its will," as he's fond of saying, increases exponentially. That pressure may be the only way to get comprehensive immigration legislation through the House that includes a pathway to citizenship, along with border security and changes to legal immigration and enforcement policies.
HuffPost will be tracking support as the debate goes on. The following count is based on the combined intelligence of several immigration groups and informed House staffers, along with a look at lawmakers' past votes, public statements and district demographics. It maps out which House members will either support immigration reform or, at the very least, remain quiet on it. If Boehner refuses, as he has said he will, to pass the bill without a majority of Republicans, below are the politicians reformers will try to win over, including some skeptical Democrats and those likely entrenched on either side.
This is not a final count, and will continue to be updated as more information becomes available. If your representative has sent you a letter or made a statement on immigration, please email it to us here with "immigration whip count" in the subject line.