Metaphorically, learning Spanish means learning people. Knowing them as human beings, not as statistics on a game board. Recognizing their humanity and finding new ways to talk about immigration that don’t alienate entire swaths of the population. …

The GOP was always a natural home for Latinos, who tend to be conservative and Catholic, though decreasingly so. Fewer than 60 percent of second-generation Latinos are Catholic, according to the Pew Research Center.

Even so, the Republican narrative of hard work, entrepreneurship and personal responsibility would seem to appeal to recent immigrants who are attracted by those very opportunities. Why aren’t Hispanics hearing the GOP call? Because this aspirational language is drowned out by the rhetoric of rejection.

You don’t need a dictionary to translate the following: In June, Obama, who won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, announced reprieves from deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were in the United States illegally, while Mitt Romney promised to end the reprieves if elected.