Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Mitt Romney’s top Hispanic surrogate, is calling for the Republican Party to “modernize” and embrace comprehensive immigration reform in order to survive as a national party.

“We need to modernize. Modernization includes diversity. Obviously, immigration reform is part of that process of diversity,” he told The Hill on Tuesday. “We are the party of growth, of business, of entrepreneurship, of innovation. We cannot continue to be that without an effective immigration policy.”

Gutierrez, who chaired Romney’s Hispanic Steering Committee during the GOP nominee’s presidential campaign, blames Romney’s rightward primary shift on immigration for his loss. Obama bested Romney among Hispanics, one of the nation’s fastest-growing demographic groups, by a whopping 71 to 27 percent. That has led to calls from many prominent Republicans for the party to re-evaluate its position on immigration.