“It is difficult to understand how someone running for President of the United States, a country with more than 50 million Hispanic citizens, could fail to acknowledge that the American people should not take grandmothers who have been here 25 years, have deep family and community ties — and forcibly expel them,” he writes before attacking Romney for his comments on “self-deportation,” warning that “rhetoric can kill the Republican Party among Latinos.”…

“I write this because as the current immigration debate heats up it is critical for us to recognize that words and attitudes really matter,” he writes. “Understanding what people hear matters. We may not mean to say what people hear we say. After decades in politics this is a lesson I have learned the hard way. As a party, we simply cannot continue with immigration rhetoric that in 2012 became catastrophic — in large part because it was not grounded in reality.”