One of the reasons Romney lost was that in the primaries, only hard-core right wing positions were winning votes. Rick Perry had it right about the Americanized children of illegal immigrants: a child who came here at age 2 or 4 or 6, went to our schools, learned English better than Spanish, obeyed all our laws except the one that, being a child and dependent, they just couldn't, and graduated, would make a good citizen. What could be the purpose of sending them "home"? They have no other home.
Intransigent, inhumane insistence upon the letter of the law is a natural (over)-reaction to the liberal position that all crime has a root cause somewhere outside the criminal. But it is an overreaction.
And so we lose.