For the third year in a row, the Republican Party delivered a Spanish-language response to the President’s State of the Union address. However, for the first time, the Spanish version included something the English-language reaction omitted: a reference to Obama’s proposed immigration reforms.
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who has a long record of opposing Spanish in government communications, endorsed making English the country’s official language during her 2014 campaign, and as a county auditor in 2007,sued to prevent voter forms from being offered in any other language besides English, delivered the Republican response and never once mentioned “immigration” or “border.” She didn’t talk about passing a comprehensive immigration plan through Congress, as the president has called for. Or about the GOP plans to try to reverse the executive orders Obama signed in November that gave legal status to 5 million undocumented immigrants.
But in a Spanish-language response speech, which the GOP had indicated was going to echo Ernst’s address, Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, of Florida, did talk about immigration. “We should also work together through the appropriate channels to create permanent solutions for our immigration system, modernize legal immigration and strengthen our economy,” Curbelo said in Spanish. “In the past, the president has expressed support for ideas like these, now we ask him to collaborate with us to get it done.”
It appears the GOP is still to decide its position on the issue.