Mark, perhaps Republicans lose because they allow Democrats to frame the issues. You've done it here. For example, you've conflated a secure border with illegal immigration. As soon as the discussion about border security starts, liberals scream that you want to deport granny. You've lost.
The border with Mexico, and Canada for that matter, is one of national security. In case you missed it 20,000 shoulder fired missiles that can bring down a commercial airliner went missing in Libya. We seek to secure the border to prevent bad people from using those missiles inside of our country. Period.
If the border is secure illegal immigrations solves itself by attrition if nothing else. Don't let liberals frame the argument.