Newly elected Congressman Juan Ciscomani (AZ CD6) gave the Spanish language Republican response to SOTU, giving him a chance to define himself and his party for a national audience of Spanish-speaking voters. Blake Morlock summed it up well, calling it “solid, unspectacular, made key points, and… largely forgettable.” I don’t disagree, but what Ciscomani didn’t say and completely elided from the most important speech of his new career is just as important.
Ciscomani’s response completely ignored how the American Dream that brought Ciscomani to Congress might be available to anyone not already in the magic circle of American citizenship. Others have previously pointed out his hypocrisy on this subject.
Ciscomani introduces himself as an embodiment of the American dream: a first-generation immigrant and naturalized citizen who came to America as a child and has built a successful American life, winding up with him holding a seat on our nation’s House. One might expect he might address his Party’s plans about how to make that same Dream that he embodies come true for others like him.
He does not: because he can’t – Republican rhetoric and orthodoxy are unremitting hostile to people like Ciscomani, so Juan has no solutions and makes no call for that. He does not even call on his own Party to support the lowest-hanging fruit: to make the Dreamers’ American Dreams come true.
If it weren’t for Ciscomani’s age, he could BE a Dreamer himself. Yet not a word about supporting DACA recipients’ American Dream by calling on his Party to support such a policy. Why? Because Republicans are overwhelmingly hostile to that goal and have voted repeatedly to reject citizenship for Dreamers, and run their campaigns accordingly, denying people exactly like Ciscomani the dream of citizenship granted to him.
All that Ciscomani really proposes is his support for the empty Republican Commitment to America which contains only more border security (Ciscomani suggests “increased border security, infrastructure, and advanced technology to prevent illegal drug trafficking and human trafficking exploitation”) and neglects to do anything about the immigration status of the millions living precarious lives in America because of their immigration statuses until and unless perfect operational control of the border is secured (hint: that will NEVER come to pass).
So when Ciscomani promises to “protect the American Dream”, he’s promising to reserve it for current Americans only, despite his empty and totally contentless claim that he wants to “protect and strengthen the American Dream for all.”
Rep. Ciscomani, I call bullshit. You don’t intend to fight for an American Dream for anyone like your younger self. You could prove me wrong with your votes and advocacy, but you haven’t made a good start.