The frustration among Americans is palpable and rightfully so. Yet, every so often, elected officials in Washington are provided the opportunity to redeem themselves and hope springs eternal that the logjam will be broken, and momentous and historic reforms passed that will inject confidence and optimism in the public that people in elected office can still arise above partisanship. One such opening has revealed itself in recent days and it has to do with an issue that has not seen significant reform in nearly 30 years when President Ronald Reagan addressed immigration working with numerous members of Congress, including a Democratic Speaker from Massachusetts, Tip O’Neill.

Then, much like now, big issues required big people intent on making change, yet understanding only with great risk was real reform possible. Recently, it has been reported that some Republicans are meeting and discussing a way forward on the issue of immigration. Many in the GOP will remember the last time this was attempted when George W. Bush was in office and the issue became little more than a political football and nothing meaningful was achieved. Therefore, the fact that Republicans are once again looking at immigration and considering legislative changes merits praise.

Despite the support Democrats enjoy from Latino voters, one thing is clear, Republicans have been the ones who have taken the lead more often than not to address this deeply controversial issue. And Republicans have often been the same ones to blame when it failed to move forward as the base has been adamantly against any reform that legalizes those who came here illegally, whether or not it was their decision or they arrived in this country through no fault of their own.

This has created a deep divide between Hispanic households and the Grand Old Party. Whether fair or not, Republicans are viewed as the impediment to reform despite the fact they have often been the party most willing to discuss and attempt it. The rhetoric among some conservatives, the core of the Republican Party, has gone beyond unwelcoming to – in some cases – greatly damaging and offensive. So much so that Latinos are not hearing the party’s message on the economy and jobs or education where there is wide agreement between the GOP and Hispanics. The fact is you can’t have a meaningful conversation with someone who doesn’t respect who you are and what you bring to the table.

And that’s where we are, plain and simple. If Republicans have any hope to rehabilitating their image among Latinos, they need to stand up, address important issues and tell the nativist voices that they do not represent the party in the 21st Century. There is no other way around it. You can be conservative, defend the rule of law, and exhibit compassion and understanding for others, while addressing jobs, healthcare, taxes, energy and immigration. You can also be all those things and oppose and reject the rhetoric that accomplishes little outside dividing us further. That’s what’s required to go beyond proposing an immigration law and actually passing one.

I am heartened to read that some U.S. Senators including Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE, the son of Cuban immigrants, Jon Kyl and Kay Bailey Hutchison are initiating conversations and considering offering legislation on the issue. And I know there are others who are at least interested in learning more and studying reasonable solutions including Senators Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissLobbying World Former GOP senator: Let Dems engage on healthcare bill OPINION: Left-wing politics will be the demise of the Democratic Party MORE, John CornynJohn CornynMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Hoyer suggests Dems won't support spending bill without DACA fix MORE, Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanFlake's anti-Trump speech will make a lot of noise, but not much sense Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race Overnight Tech: Regulators to look at trading in bitcoin futures | Computer chip flaws present new security problem | Zuckerberg vows to improve Facebook in 2018 MORE and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Senate Intel chairman: No need for committee to interview Bannon McConnell: Russia probe must stay bipartisan to be credible MORE, as well as Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE, Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorEric Cantor: Moore ‘deserves to lose’ If we want to make immigration great again, let's make it bipartisan Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns MORE, Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressmen Sandy Adams, Todd Rokita and Raul Labrador, just to name a few.

While some Democrats and the media may choose to dismiss it as a small step forward, it is nevertheless a lot more than many Democrats have done to date. These leaders will need the support and courage of many others to set the record straight when those intent on dividing America, as opposed to uniting it, ratchet up the rhetoric.

For someone who has been around town for a while, I tend to have my doubts, but like so many others, I am hopeful the hard work of so many Republicans can prevail and those elected to represent us are still able to accomplish big, important things, even when it is extremely difficult.

Javier Ortiz is a Republican strategist.