For many years now liberals have argued that the issue of undocumented immigration could be dealt with by stricter enforcement of labor laws. We saw the issue as one primarily of basic economics, our southern neighbors were fleeing faltering and failing economies and were coming to the U.S. for (relatively) good paying jobs. If the government was interested in curbing the flow of immigrants they could simply enforce our nations labor laws and prosecute employers who hired undocumented workers. Dry up the jobs and the flow of immigrants would dry up as well.
The GOP business interests would have none of it and the nativist wing of the GOP decided that militarizing our border and slandering an entire race of people would be a better tact. The nativist wing has now successfully delivered the Hispanic vote to the Democratic Party for the foreseeable future handicapping the GOP's electoral chances in our increasingly diverse nation.
And now that the economy has slowed we've seen a reversal of immigration trends, the rate of Mexican emigration has dropped 42% in the last 2 years. Stories abound across the country of Mexican immigrants returning home - North Carolina, California, Nevada and Colorado.
Immigration was an issue with a simple and humane solution. Republicans chose to pass on that and instead decided to embrace a modern Know Nothing movement within their party. Now we see that economics did indeed lay at the core of the issue but the GOP has already alienated the vast majority of Hispanics.
I'm not sure there's much to say other than to marvel at the utter failure of the GOP on all levels of this issue.