In a disparity that crystalizes the Republican Party’s struggle with immigration reform, its official English-language response to President Obama’s State of the Union address did not mention the issue — but its Spanish-language response did.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) didn’t mention immigration once during her official Republican response, which was aired nationally Tuesday night. A pledge that the GOP would “work to correct executive overreach” was as close as she came.
But Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who delivered the Spanish-language GOP response, did bring it up. Democratic opposition research firm American Bridge pointed out the discrepancy in an email to reporters.
“We should also work through the appropriate channels to create permanent solutions for our immigration system,” Curbelo said, as translated by American Bridge. A Google translation of Univision’s report on Curbelo’s remarks largely corroborated the translation.
Politico’s Seung Min Kim reported that Curbelo wanted to incorporate immigration into his speech and ran it by Republican leadership.
Curbelo tells me he incorporated a lot of Ernst’s speech but also weaved in issues important to him, like immigration. Leadership OK’ed
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) January 21, 2015
As Mother Jones reported, whether Curbelo’s Spanish-language response would be a direct translation of Ernst’s was a matter of some confusion prior to the speeches.
In the end, a House Republican spokesperson told the magazine that Curbelo and Ernst would deliver “the same Republican message” — but “with their own unique stories and experiences to shape that narrative.”