US Visa and immigration issues will be critical to Republican success at the next election, a conference has heard.
18 January 2011
US Visa and immigration issues could hurt Republican Party
Conservatives have been warned by former US Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart that the Republican Party will not gain power at the next election if it is perceived to be against immigration.
Diaz-Balart's comments were made at a Coral Gables conference co-hosted by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Mr Bush also spoke at the conference, cautioning that the Republican Party would be "incredibly stupid'' to ignore the fastest-growing minority group in the nation, Hispanics, and that conservatives should engage Hispanics by promoting a civil tone and a broad, inclusive message.
Mr Bush, who is a fluent Spanish speaker whose wife was born in Mexico, said it was important to realize that the Hispanic population, which is the fastest-growing population in the country, will also eventually be the fastest-growing population of voters.
Diaz-Balart , a Miami Republican who retired from office last year, said that the party's long-term success will depend on how Republicans handle US Visa and immigration issues in the future.
“If we become perceived as an anti-immigrant party, America, being a country of immigrants, will never allow us to be the majority party," said Diaz-Balart.
Diaz-Balart also criticized Democrats for failing to push for US Visa and immigration reform that Obama promised as a candidate.
National exit polls showed the Democrats hold a two-to-one advantage over Republicans among Hispanic voters, which could make it difficult for Republicans to oust President Barack Obama from the White House next year.
The two-day conference drew national media attention, although only one potential 2012 presidential contender - former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty - attended the conference.