Florida Sen. Marco Rubio made a compelling and dramatic speech about the American Dream at the Republican National Convention Thursday night.
He even referenced Mitt Romney's father, who was born in Mexico.
But how can Republicans talk about the American Dream when our country's immigration policies don't give most Mexicans and many other immigrants a chance to become legal residents?
You can't get in line when then there is no line. Under quota systems most Mexicans have to wait 15 to 20 years to legally immigrate. This is how long it takes for most Mexicans to get a visa - unless they marry a U.S. citizen.
The Republicans don't offer a permanent solution for undocumented immigrant youth who were brought here by their parents, young people who would benefit from the DREAM Act. The Democrats have come up with a temporary fix and more still needs to be done.
It's easy for Rubio to talk about his working-class parents and how they lived the American Dream. But there is a huge difference between how the U.S. treats Cubans over Mexicans.
Most Cubans get green cards within a year and are eligible for U.S. citizenship.
Cubans who step foot on U.S. soil without immigration papers get an automatic pass under our nation's immigration laws. But a Mexican who arrives here without papers is subject to immediate deportation.
Mexico gave Romney's family a warm welcome and allowed them to settle and thrive when they wanted to avoid U.S. polygamy laws. Later they had to flee like other Mexicans because of the Revolution. And the U.S. took them back and offered them shelter again.
Both Mexico and the United States have been generous to the Romney family allowing them to achieve their dreams. But Romney would turn his back on the undocumented in the United States.
Republicans like Rubio and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who greeted the convention attendees in Spanish, don't get it. How can Martinez speak Spanish when most Republican want an English-only policy?
They talk about ideals and how immigrants built this country but they want to exclude 11 million who are already living in the United States and the vast majority who are already contributing.
"We are a nation of immigrants," Romney said at the beginning of his acceptance speech.
But his immigration solution is a cold-hearted "self-deportation."
It's a message that rings hollow at a time when we need real solutions and to give undocumented immigrants already here a chance to contribute, pay more in taxes and have their chance to live the American Dream.