Granting legal status and an earned path to citizenship for undocumented workers could also bring up the often menial wages they earn. Nowrasteh estimates that the 8.5 to 9 million undocumented workers in the U.S. make 20 percent less than the average worker in their field.
"Immigration laws do not take into account economic reality, and economic reality has a way of making these laws irrelevant," said Nowrasteh.
Beyond just altering their rhetoric, cutting a deal now on immigration could give conservatives a chance to get their rule-of-law priorities (i.e. enhanced border security and immigration enforcement measures) included in a comprehensive bill.
"That may still be anathema to the GOP base, but it's becoming clear that the base's approach won't work," writes Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, a conservative blog.
(Jorge Bonilla, another conservative blogger, makes a similar point here).
A real policy shift would address many of the central concerns of Latino voters and should be considered a core part of Republicans' efforts to attract Latino support.
"It's not a pander, it's reversing decades of bad Republican rhetoric and policy on immigration that doesn't have to happen," said Nowrasteh. "It is totally consistent with conservative and free-market ideology to be pro-immigrant."