Though it is persistently asserted by self-proclaimed 'Latino activists'*, media types, and Establishment Republicans alike that taking a restrictionist stance on immigration is to commit political hara kiri, Hispanics are not particularly concerned with immigration (and to the extent that they do care, their opinions are far more ambiguous than the casual observer has been led to believe).
Pew just released the results of a survey on Hispanics in the US headlining with their reactions to an uptick in deportations carried out under the Obama administration as compared to the Bush administration. The report also contains other points of interest, including the emphasis placed on the question of immigration. Of the six issues participants were asked about, immigration came in dead last in the percentage of Hispanic voters who say they are "extremely concerned" about it. From most to least important: Jobs (50%), Education (49%), Health care (45%), Taxes (34%), Federal budget deficit (!) (34%), Immigration (33%).
Hispanics primarily favor Democrats because of the party's policies on health care and economics--policies that seek to transfer wealth from middle class whites to the (disproportionately Hispanic) poor. The GOP would have to move to the left of the Democratic party on both of these fronts to beat it at its own game and have a chance at winning over Hispanics, a move that would necessarily entail the Republican party ceasing to be conservative in any meaningful way.
Calling for open borders alone doesn't aid the Hispandering cause. The survey was conducted when the three big names in the GOP field were Romney, Perry, and Cain. Romney, whose relatively tough stance on illegal immigration is only outdone by Bachmann, was found to be running neck-and-neck with Perry and slightly ahead of Cain among Hispanic voters, even though Cain was running at the front of the pack among Republican primary voters at the time.
Perusing the rest of the report, I was reminded of a one of my favorite Simpsons moments, when, as the family shovels down low-fat pudding, Marge remarks that she can just feel the pounds melting off. The report shows that while Hispanics who are fluent English speakers, make $75,000+ per year, and/or have a college degree feel the Republican party is more inclined towards Hispanics as a group than the Democratic party is (14%, 19%, and 14%, respectively) than are Hispanics who primarily or exclusively speak Spanish, make under $30,000 per year, and/or have less than a high school education (6%, 10%, and 7%, respectively), an increase in even the more assimilated and successful portion of the Hispanic immigrant contingent is obviously bad news for Republicans.
* Despite an apparent upsurge in preference for the term "Latino" over the term "Hispanic" by 'activists' and SWPLs in the media over the course of the last decade or so, more people descended from south of the border prefer the latter descriptor, Hispanic, over the former, Latino. This remains the case whether those Latinos/Hispanics in question were born in the US or outside of it, by a margin of more than 2-to-1.