The Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei pointed out that the Republican Party presented a "decidedly softer" immigration stance in its Spanish-language response to President Obama's January 12 State of the Union address than in its English-language reply.
Mazzei's January 12 post on the Herald's blog Naked Politics compared the responses, the first delivered in English by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and the second in Spanish delivered by Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), which Mazzei called "decidedly softer." The responses offered "different messages" on immigration; while the English version emphasized the need to fix "our broken immigration system" by closing borders, the Spanish version focused on "a permanent and human solution" to immigration reform and for "those who live in the shadows." The contrasting responses reflect "the Republican Party's immigration split" and the ongoing attempts by the GOP to improve relations with Latino voters, which are often discouraged by conservative media and thwarted by the inflammatory rhetoric of some of their candidates.
According to Mazzei, while some discrepancies in the speeches reflected Haley's and Díaz-Balart's different backgrounds, "the Spanish version" of the response "was decidedly softer" on the topic of immigration. From Mazzei's post (emphasis added):
The Republican Party's immigration split was reflected Tuesdayin the two responses hand-picked party members gave -- one in English, one in Spanish -- to President Obama's final State of the Union address. The Spanish version, offered by a Cuban-American congressman from Miami, was decidedly softer.
Here's what South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said in English:
No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions should ever feel unwelcome in this country.
At the same time, that does not mean we just flat out open our borders. We can't do that. We cannot continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally. And in this age of terrorism, we must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined.
We must fix our broken immigration system. That means stopping illegal immigration. And it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. Just like we have for centuries.
I have no doubt that if we act with proper focus, we can protect our borders, our sovereignty and our citizens, all while remaining true to America's noblest legacies.
Here's what Miami Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart said in Spanish (translation is ours):
No one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love the United States should ever feel unwelcome in this country. It's not who we are.
At the same time, it's obvious that our immigration system needs to be reformed. The current system puts our national security at risk and is an obstacle for our economy.
It's essential that we find a legislative solution to protect our nation, defend our borders, offer a permanent and human solution to those who live in the shadows, respect the rule of law, modernize the visa system and push the economy forward.
I have no doubt that if we work together, we can achieve this and continue to be faithful to the noblest legacies of the United States.