18 January 2011

US Visa and immigration issues could hurt Republican Party

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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.

US Visa

US Visa and immigration issues will be critical to Republican success at the next election, a conference has heard.

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.


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