US Visa and immigration issues could hurt Republican Party

- Posted in America by Visa Bureauon 18 January 2011

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.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  ESTA to the US Embassy.