Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, who heads the GOP's 2014 House campaign efforts, said the party must communicate better with minorities.
"Obviously we've got to address this," he said of immigration changes. "We've got 50,000 young Hispanics reaching voter age every month."
Some conservative pundits, however, say turning illegal immigrants into voting citizens will hurt the GOP, not help it.
Latinos "are disproportionately low-income and disproportionately likely to receive some form of government support," the magazine National Review said in an editorial. "Take away the Spanish surname and Latino voters look a great deal like many other Democratic constituencies."
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says he's ready to tackle big changes in immigration laws. But the effort may conflict with another of his goals: passing major legislation only if most House Republicans support it.
House insiders say many, and perhaps most, Republican lawmakers will want to vote against a citizenship-granting immigration bill, even if they quietly hope it passes and helps their party at the presidential level.
Such "vote no, hope yes" groups are well-suited for passing difficult measures with a modest number of Republican votes and many Democratic votes. It happened twice in January: on a hurricane aid bill and a vote on the "fiscal cliff."
At a recent House Republican retreat in Virginia, Boehner brought in independent political analyst Charlie Cook to explain to lawmakers why they face serious trouble with Hispanic voters.
Cook said House Republicans make a mistake if they view national issues such as immigration "through the prism of your district," said a participant at the private session. Republicans eventually can improve their standing with Latinos if they stop talking and acting as though they don't like immigrants, Cook told the House members.
"Holes tend to fill in over time if people stop digging," Cook was quoted as saying to the lawmakers.
White House's immigration plan: http://tinyurl.com/6xboukg
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.