"I think people will move back towards the Republican side," he said. "But we've got to have a better tone going forward over the long haul for sure. You can't ask people to join your cause and then send a signal that you're really not wanted."
Romney's loss could spur a new focus on immigration overhaul. President Obama told Univision in September that his "greatest failure" was not passing such a comprehensive bill. And while he said he'd take responsibility for being naïve about his chances to pass such a proposal, the economy required him to focus on other things.
He promised to push anew for an immigration bill during the first year of his second term.
Some Republicans are now speaking more favorably about working toward a comprehensive plan.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, has been pushing a bill that would allow more highly educated workers into the country.
He told Politico after the election, "It's clear to me, if Republicans are going to have the opportunity to be in the majority, we clearly have to determine how we deal with minority and Latino voters. In some fashion, the way we have dealt with immigration gives us a black eye. And we need to figure out how to talk about issues and pursue policies that matter to Latino, Hispanic voters."
A senator Obama supported the tortured and star-crossed bipartisan efforts to pass legislation in 2006 and 2007 under President Bush. And many high-profile Republican supporters of a comprehensive bill have changed their tune on the issue.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had made immigration overhaul a priority before he ran for president. And he supported the bipartisan efforts to pass a bill that created a pathway for citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. But he hardened on the issue during a 2010 bid for re-election.
The highest-profile Latino politician in the country is Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. He supports some version of the DREAM Act, which would enable the children of immigrants who are here illegally to stay in country.
But Rubio has already planned a trip to Iowa, raising suspicions that he might run for president. He'd face the same primary voters who forced Mitt Romney to the right last year.