I agree with Jennifer Rubin that Republicans do not know how to talk to Hispanics.
I think, however, Conservatives and the Tea Party do. After all, Hispanics are culturally conservative and Christian.
Blue Blood Republicans do not understand.
As Jennifer notes, new leaders such as Marco Rubio will change the tide. All for the good.
Having said that, any plant to legalize must recognize and respect the law. Perhaps this means that in order to become legal, you must first leave the US, etc. But, to reward breaking the law is a dangerous place to start.
The argument that “We’ve tried, but nothing works” is a cop-out. (I’m not persuaded by the argument that John McCain’s inability to attract Hispanic voters in 2008 is proof of this. McCain essentially reversed course on immigration in the campaign. Moreover, McCain couldn’t even connect with New Englanders.) In Virginia, now Gov. Bob McDonnell told me in late 2008 that Republicans had done a poor job of explaining that it is the illegal part they object to — not the immigrant part. And, in the 2009 campaign, he went to Hispanic communities explaining why conservative positions on education, family, low taxes, reasonable regulation, crime, etc. are good for them. If Republicans tried that over an extended period of time, continued to demonstrate that they are a diverse party (Marco Rubio and other Hispanic candidates and officials help in this regard), and tamped down on the over-the-top anti-immigrant rhetoric, they might improve their standing. “We don’t know that!” critics say. True, but why not give it a shot? (Given current polling data, this might be an opportune time to start.)